A new attraction has been added to this year’s STEP Into Christmas Home Tour offered by Solutions That Empower People (STEP), Inc. A Festival of Trees, featuring 10 Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofits, will be conducted in conjunction with the home tour, set for Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Festival of Trees will open Nov. 16 and continue through Dec. 12 at The Franklin Center on Claiborne Avenue in Rocky Mount.

The trees, provided by STEP, will be decorated to demonstrate the services offered by the nonprofits. Visitors can vote for their favorite tree by placing a new, unwrapped toy under it. The tree with the most toys wins. Toys can be placed any time during the festival until Dec. 10, when they will be counted and then distributed to area children by We Care, Franklin County.

“It’s a real, feel-good holiday event, epitomizing the giving spirit of the season and encouraging people to look beyond the commercialism of this time of year,” said Kris Landrum, STEP marketing and communications director. “We hope to build community by encouraging our nonprofits to work together to build a stronger safety net for those in need. Participating agencies have an opportunity to grow awareness of their services and to support each other in the work that they do.”

Nonprofits participating include the Bernard Health Care Center (also known as the Free Clinic), Blue Ridge Association for Sickle Cell Anemia, Disability Rights and Resource Center, Helping Hands of Franklin County, Henry Fork Service Center, Faith Network, Franklin County Family Resource Center, Franklin County Historical Society, Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center and Tri-Area Community Health. Signs will designate each nonprofit’s tree.

When the festival is over, the trees will be donated to families in need to adorn their homes for the holidays.

For the more information, visit www.stepincva.com or the STEP Into Christmas Facebook page.

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