By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

Money does grow on trees for the Armed Services YMCA during its Christmas Festival of Trees fundraiser.

The Armed Services YMCA raised about $33,000 during its Festival of Trees fundraiser Friday, said Tony Mino, Central Texas Armed Services YMCA executive director.

"Each year keeps getting better and better," Mino said. "This is our eighth year, and each year the dollars that we have raised has been steadily going up."

The money is raised through selling tickets for 10 Christmas trees that include decorations and gifts. The organization also auctions off one tree as well as several other items and sells seats to the event.

Each tree has its own theme for gifts, Mino said. There are gift trees for boys, girls, outdoors, electronics and more.

This year, the YMCA had the opportunity to auction off a second tree, when state Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, won a tree through ticket sales and donated it back to the YMCA, Mino said.

"We had an extra bonus this year," Mino said, about Sheffield's donation.

The $33,000 will go to supporting many programs of the Armed Services YMCA, including child care programs, quilting programs and more, Mino said.

Mino thanked the various business and individual sponsors for making the trees and silent auctions possible. He also thanked the 500 people in attendance.

"The YMCA is really appreciative of the businesses and the community," Mino said. "It is their efforts that make it go, it is their tickets and the sponsors for the tree that make this fundraiser work."

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554.

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