Garden center trims tree profits to help neighbor Fire damaged Clarksville church

November 30, 1992|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Christmas has come early to a fire-damaged Clarksvill church, with the help of a new garden center up the street.

The River Hill Garden Center, which opened in April, has agreed to donate some of its profits on Christmas tree sales to the Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church.

The proceeds will help the church replace items, such as choir robes, that were not covered by insurance, and build its fund for charitable causes.

An Oct. 17 fire in the church's sanctuary caused about $200,000 damage and forced the cancellation of the church's largest annual fund raiser, which generates about $8,000 for church needs and outreach projects. Those include the homeless shelter operated by Grassroots Crisis Intervention in Howard, the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County and a Baltimore soup kitchen.

The 375-member church, at 12702 Clarksville Pike, wouldn't have been able to help social services organizations during the holidays if not for the garden center's help, said congregation member John Sirmon. "Times are hard, but these people have stepped forward and really assisted us," he said. "It's a remarkable offer."

The church has circulated coupons to area businesses that offer a $2 discount for buying a tree at River Hill Garden Center. For every tree sold with a coupon, the garden center will give the church the profit, said owner Steve Klein.

"Since we're new in the community, we decided to do something community-oriented and positive," said Mr. Klein, whose center is a short walk from the church.

Church members have provided the garden center some free labor.

The church projects that it can raise nearly $6,000 if it helps promote the sale of about half of the garden center's stock of 700 trees, which cost from $15 to $70.

The Rev. Terri Rae Chattin said the fire "knocked the wind out of our sails," but the effort to promote Christmas tree sales has helped to unify the congregation. "It's filled a void," she said. "It's something to rally around as we try to pull ourselves back together."

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