Tree of Lights

Colored lights glow from inside of the Hospice Care Team’s Tree of Lights atop the Galveston County Daily News building on Dec. 1, 2015. The lighted Christmas tree, visible from the causeway, has been a tradition since 1989.

STUART VILLANUEVA/The Daily News file

Because of Hurricane Harvey, Hospice Care Team has been unable to erect the Tree of Lights that normally sits atop The Daily News’ building in Galveston during the holiday season.

The Christmas tree, which is visible from the causeway, has been a holiday tradition since 1989.

The Tree of Lights, with about 1,000 lights, was a major fundraiser for the Hospice Care Team, allowing donors to purchase a light in honor or memory of someone aided by hospice services.

“Due to the recent events with Hurricane Harvey, we were unable to have the staffing and volunteers available to do the mass mail-out and put in the tremendous amount of hours it takes to have a successful fundraiser like the Tree of Lights event,” said Joe Chapman, an administrator at Hospice Care Team.

The Hospice Care Team, the area’s only nonprofit hospice, provides care to people who are terminally ill and to their families.

The organization provides care to all — regardless of their ability to pay.

“Our No. 1 priority during that time was simply making sure that Hospice Care Team first and foremost took care of all the patients and families on our service, most of whom did not evacuate,” Chapman said.

While most care is covered by insurance and Medicare, Hospice Care Team spends about $400,000 a year on unfunded care and depends on donations from the public, which are still needed.

Officials are planning to do the fundraiser in 2018, and are accepting donations, which can be mailed to Hospice Care Team Inc., 11441 32nd Ave. N., Suite B, Texas City, TX 77591.

“We certainly plan on doing the Tree of Lights next year,” Chapman said. “It has been a part of the Galveston skyline and we look forward to continuing it in the future.”

Meanwhile, the newspaper this week launched an effort to raise through community donations the $5,000 needed to install the tree, Leonard Woolsey, president and publisher of The Daily News said.

The Daily News would contribute money toward the effort and was inviting others in the community to do the same, Woolsey said.

People and groups interested in contributing can contact Woolsey at leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com.

Angela Wilson: 409-683-5239; angela.wilson@galvnews.com

Angela Wilson is the community news editor for The Daily News.

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