Believe it or not…it is that time of the year again! It is the time when the volunteer members of the Giving Tree of Rangeley spring into action for the families and seniors in the area to make Christmastime brighter and happier.
The Giving Tree History: One Christmas day while sliding, Mary Ellen Richardson was hit by a car and died. It is in her memory that the Giving Tree of Rangeley was founded and the Angel came to be. It is the angel in RANGELEY that reminds us of the good things that people can do. In 1987 a group of people from Rangeley came together with the idea of creating an angel in Mary Ellen’s memory. They decided to provide warm clothing to local children that didn’t have the proper attire for the winter.
The Tree: In the beginning, Ron Paseo, who was an international business man, coordinated with Lac Megantic, Canada to trade trees. After the 9/11 tragedy, we had to stop trading trees with Canada. Bob Paradis donated the first tree and it was planted in Town Park down by the boat landing. The current tree was donated by Priscilla and Brian St. Louis upon hearing that the original tree had been vandalized and cut. Now the Tree, in the lot beside the Chamber of Commerce in Town Park, has its own power source thanks to the efforts of the Parks & Recreation, Rangeley Fire Departments and the Town Office. Each year these groups help the Giving Tree of Rangeley by stringing and testing the lights to ensure that the tree is in working order for the lighting.
The Ceremony: The lighting of the Giving Tree is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving at 6:00 PM. The evening starts off, for the Angel and Elf, dressing in their costumes and preparing with the President of the Giving Tree, Carmen Glidden, their parents and Santa. Then it’s off to the
lighting ceremony, usually atop a fire engine. Many members of the community come to Town Park to sing Christmas songs and witness the Giving Tree Angel light up the tree with a magic touch. Then it is off to a reception with Santa, his Elf and the Angel to share hot chocolate and cake. The two lucky children that participate in the ceremony are students from the first or second grade at the Rangeley Lakes Region School.
34 years later... Things haven’t changed much. The Giving Tree of Rangeley is an all- volunteer and all donation community-based organization. The organization consists of a Board of Directors, Executive Officers and a number of dedicated volunteers. The children, families and seniors in the area that can use a helping hand at Christmastime are still our main focus.
Donations are accepted and appreciated year-round at: The Giving Tree of Rangeley, PO Box 222 Rangeley, ME 04970-0222

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