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Pieces of Eight


ECU Volunteers Bring Holiday Cheer to Local Nursing Home

By Christine Neff

Helping hands turned a pile of white clothes hangers into beautifully decorated miniature Christmas trees at an annual volunteer activity hosted by the State Employees Association of North Carolina District 65 last month.

About 20 SEANC members, all employees of East Carolina University, gathered in the lobby of the Thomas Professional Building Nov. 17, to make the miniature trees that will be donated to a local nursing home. The group has been doing the project every holiday season for at least five years, said Volunteer Action Chair Lynn Tuthill.

Members of SEANC District 65 made miniature Christmas trees to donate to a local nursing home. (Photo by Christine Neff)

Volunteers brought their own supplies to make the trees. They started by arranging six wire clothes hangers to form the base of the tree, and then added strands of multi-colored Christmas lights and shimmering garland. In the end, the group created 20 festive trees that will decorate residents’ rooms at Tar River Manor nursing home in Greenville.

Crystal Hooper and Karen Duraney chatted and laughed as they worked their clothes hangers into the requisite tree shape. “I just thought this would be fun, a good way to meet other people,” Duraney said about coming out to the event.

Nearby, Evelyn Hinnant used a glue gun to secure the garland to nearly- finished trees. Hinnant launched the community craft project after she started making trees for family and friends. “This is something I enjoy doing,” she said. “It’s just really rewarding.”

Tuthill said SEANC District 65 participates in a variety of volunteer activities throughout the year.

For the holidays, in addition to decorating and donating the miniature Christmas trees, the group will be selling about 30 trees for $15 a piece to raise money for another holiday project called Club Rudolph. Each year through Club Rudolph, the group “adopts” two local, needy children and buys them the items on their holiday wish lists.

This page originally appeared in the Dec. 12, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at