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'Trying to do our part': Nonprofit uses tree sales to fund scholarships for Roosevelt High School students

The Peninsula Optimist Club's Christmas tree sales fund scholarships, youth programs and helps those struggling during the pandemic.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Peninsula Optimist Club is a nonprofit organization on a mission to support youth in the community. 

Their main fundraisers are fireworks and Christmas tree sales in the St. Johns neighborhood in Portland. 

The Memorial Christmas Tree Lot at the corner of North Lombard and North Chautauqua Boulevard has Doug and Noble Firs. Thanks to Christmas tree sales the club is able to give scholarships to Roosevelt High school students after graduation. 

They have been doing just that for more than 70 years. 

"It started off at $500 and through the years it progressed to $5,000, "said John Teuscher, lot operation manager with the organization.

Credit: CK
he scholarships are made possible by the Christmas tree sales held every year

Sophia Linksy is this year's scholarship recipient. 

She's now a freshman at the Honors College at the University of Oregon. She's grateful for the scholarship. 

"I've always just figured it's going to be loans, it's going to be debt, it's going to be all that for however many decades to come," said Linsky. "So stuff like this is really helping me to not have that crippling debt for the rest of my life."

In addition to scholarships, the group helps and donates to youth organizations. 

This year with the COVID-19 pandemic, they extended the offer to other local community organizations. "We also just donated $7,000 to Self Enhancement, Inc. to help out the SUN school program for families in need of food assistance, $10,000 to the Sunshine Division and $2,000 to meals on wheels," said Teuscher.

The organization gave between $50,000-$60,000 this past year.

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