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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

Halifax Health–Hospice is Raising Funds with Custom Ornaments

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

This is a guest blog post and is being posted with permission from Katie Mahoney with Beacon Design.

Since 2001, Halifax Health – Hospice has been partnering with Beacon Design and raising funds with custom ornaments. Each year, they design new ornaments that are offered during their Tree of Remembrance fundraiser. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Smith, the Fund Development Specialist for Halifax Health – Hospice.

Who is Halifax Health – Hospice?

Many are familiar with Hospice care and what that may mean for their loved ones at the end of their lives. Who you may not think about is the team of devoted and compassionate professionals who make this service possible. In fact, these special individuals spend much of their lives caring for patients and families during the most difficult time in their lives. The Halifax Health – Hospice approach to care is simple. They believe a person’s life should be cherished and celebrated. Therefore, their team of professionals set out each day to honor the wishes of their patients and families while assisting in celebrating their lives one day at a time.

The top-rated and most recommended in the area, Halifax Health – Hospice has been serving Central Florida counties since 1979. Emily shares that they are the only nonprofit Hospice in the area. For this reason, they offer many services that other Hospices aren’t able to. A large part of Emily’s job is to develop new and maintain current fundraisers that raise enough funds each year to provide their amazing services.

Annual Tree of Remembrance Event

“This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Halifax Health – Hospice Tree of Remembrance fundraiser,” says Emily. Each year a variety of items are carefully chosen for the Tree of Remembrance Holiday Collection. Donors can purchase an exclusive annual ornament or collectible to decorate for the holiday season. With each purchase, the donor fills out a tag in memory of a loved one and places their tag on a large holiday tree located at the local mall near Halifax Health – Hospice.

In addition to selling the exclusive collection at their local mall, Emily shares that these items can also be purchased online and at a few of their Hospice Care Centers. Funds raised at the event support the Halifax Health – Hospice Patient Memorial Fund. This fund helps family members cover any unexpected costs after their loved ones pass away.

Raising Funds with Annual Ornaments

Part of the exclusive annual collection during the Tree of Remembrance fundraiser are their ornaments. Emily spoke about how each year they design an “Always In Our Hearts” ornament which has been a staple piece for this event. This year also marks the Halifax Health – Hospice 40th year in Hospice care. To commemorate this special year, Emily worked with Beacon Design to create the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Ornament. Additionally, each year they offer a Veteran’s ornament. She decided to bring back the 2018 Patriotic Eagle because of last year’s popularity. The butterfly has also been a very popular and meaningful ornament in past years, so this year Emily added the beautiful Breezy Butterflies ornament.  Last but not least,  is the 2019 Adirondack Chairs ornament. Emily mentioned that donors had been asking when a “beach” ornament would be available again. She felt that this ornament would be the perfect piece because of the two silhouettes walking in the background. For many, this may symbolize Hospice or their loved ones.

Emily explains that because they sell their ornaments in a mall, people typically purchase while passing by. However, about two-thirds are purchased by returning ornament collectors. She shares, “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with the volunteers at the mall and hearing customer stories about their loved ones as they add their tag to the tree.”

The Future

For Emily, working for Halifax Health – Hospice is much more than just a job. Throughout her life, she has had five family members go through the Hospice program. For this reason, the organization has always been “near and dear to my heart” she says. Emily truly understands the value and comfort that Hospice care programs can bring to families during and after losing a loved one. She shares that she still remembers the ornaments and the big tree as a child. Given this personal experience for Emily, she strives to continue raising funds by creating ornaments for their fundraiser each year. She tells me that her experience working with Beacon Design has been very easy and that it’s nice to have someone else understand her ideas and collaborate on those.

Last week, I touched base with Emily. She wrote back letting me know this year’s Tree of Remembrance fundraiser has started at their Care Centers and has been “wildly successful” with the new ornaments!



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