As the holiday season nears, the deadline looms for the collection of donations to support the annual Wreaths Across America, which honors local veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice.
This year, proceeds from the 2nd Annual Christmas Boutique, to be held Saturday, Nov. 7, at Big Papa’s Steakhouse, located at 1001 W. Tehachapi Blvd., will go to the local chapter of Wreaths Across America. The event will be held outdoors in the front parking lot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature 30 vendors.
The public is invited to attend and do some Christmas shopping. Santa Claus will be there from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and Miss United States 2020 Tiffany Rea will greet the public from noon to 2 p.m.
"I have always loved supporting Wreaths Across America, and I am honored to be presented at the fundraiser. It is important to me to be part of this event because I love honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and support their families in a season of celebration during the holidays. I want to preserve Wreaths Across America's mission, which is to 'Remember our fallen U.S. Veterans, Honor those who serve, and Teach (your) children the value of freedom,'" Rea said.
Robin Hill and Samantha Kight will host the Christmas Boutique.
"Each vendor will be giving up (for raffle) items or baskets worth $25 or more, although most will be baskets worth so much more," said Hill, who will herself be donating a basket of her Scentsy products valued at more than $200.
Hill said she hopes to raise $2,000 or more for Wreaths Across America during the event.
Each year, volunteers lay wreaths on the headstones of the nation's fallen heroes. The graves of nearly 500 war dead are decorated in Tehachapi alone.
According to Jim Jacobs, coordinator for Tehachapi, the upcoming fundraiser plus two that were held last week are expected to raise the $7,000 in necessary funds.
Jacobs said an evening ceremony will be held for a third year in a row at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, at Freedom Plaza in downtown Tehachapi. The public is invited.
The following morning, the Wreaths Across America ceremony will commence at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at Westside Cemetery. A second ceremony will follow at the Eastside Cemetery. Volunteers are welcome to come out and help lay the wreaths and contribute to the cause.
Air Tight Heating and Air/5150 Dieselz will continue to collect donations at their business location at 20021 W. Valley Blvd., Suite B, through Dec. 1. Donations can also be made three ways at wreathsacrossamerica.org or by contacting Jim Jacobs via email at email@example.com
"We were really struggling this year, but when 5150 Dieselz stepped up and became our partner, things have really shifted up. A lot of folks have donated, a lot of companies have donated, and people who didn't even know that Wreaths Across America existed now know what it is," said Jacobs.
All donations made via the website for Tehachapi stay in Tehachapi, and are tax deductible.
"The volunteers have all been outstanding this year," Jacobs said. "We would not be successful if it wasn't for people out there collection funds for us. It is heartwarming that the community came together at the 11th hour and made this another successful year for Wreaths Across America."