The Saint Paul YMCA Service Club will not be selling Christmas trees in the parking lot of Highland National Golf Course this year due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Going inside the trailer, exchanging money—all of that plays into fears of COVID, whether you’re the customer or the cashier,” said club president Joe Dotson.

According to Dotson, club members have been selling trees for the holidays for the past 80 years. Volunteers typically set up scaffolding and then unload close to 1,000 balsams, firs and pines on the day after Thanksgiving at the tree lot in Highland. Last year, the club raised around $28,000 from tree sales at the golf course parking lot alone to help youths attend YMCA camps and other programs.

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YMCA trees
Photo by Brad Stauffer

The club has been selling trees at Highland National for at least the last 15 years, Dotson said. The Midway tree lot will reportedly still be operating this year.

Dotson said that the loss of some volunteer help as a result of reorganization at the YMCA and the advancing age of club members also were factors in closing down the Highland National tree lot this year.

“I’m 72 and I’m one of the younger members in the club,” he said.

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