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Branches of Giving Trees reach out to touch one and all

This is one Giving Trees that's display Grayslake Heritage Center Historical Society Museum. | JIM NEWTON~SUN-TIMES MEDIA

This is one of the Giving Trees that's on display at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Historical Society Museum. | JIM NEWTON~SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: January 31, 2014 3:25AM

Just after the village tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, about 450 people came to see the first-ever Grayslake Giving Trees Initiative display in the Grayslake Heritage Center and Historical Society Museum.

On Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t as crowded, but no less beautiful or thought-provoking, as 15 decorated Christmas trees glistened, each silently telling the story of the charitable or not-for-profit organization that it represents.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to pull local groups together,” said Charlotte Renehan, president of the Grayslake Historical Society. “The Heritage Center and Museum is a wonderful venue for housing this, and we thought it may help bring people in to see the museum, which we are very proud of.”

The Giving Trees Initiative, sponsored by both the Heritage Center and Historical Society, offers visitors the chance to purchase $1 tickets to vote for the tree of their choice.

The tickets are deposited into boxes by each tree, and people may vote as often as they want.

The trees were decorated by charitable organizations, each of which was asked to use its tree as a method of demonstrating the mission of the agency, organization or school.

Some of the decorations on the American Cancer Society Relay for Life tree, for example, paid tribute to those who lost their lives to cancer.

The Book Bridge, an organization that provides used books to children in need, dressed its tree up with literature, with the children’s bedtime classic “Goodnight Moon” near the top of the tree.

“I think it’s great. I think they are all great,” said Gayle Jensen, a member of the board of directors for The Book Bridge. “It’s beautiful.”

The display will be open to visitors each Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. through Dec 28.

After that, Jensen said, the organization with the tree that attracts the most tickets will keep all of the donations given to that tree, while the other organizations will split their donations 50/50 with the Historical Society.

Some of the participating organizations include the Community Youth Network, Relay for Life, The Book Bridge, The Exchange Club of Grayslake, the Grayslake Farmers Market and the Grayslake Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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