A Houston business continues to give back to the community through an annual Christmas tree contest that benefits Texas County Memorial Hospital Hospice of Care.

Shari McCallister, owner of D&L Florist, hosts the contest by decorating numerous trees in her shop with various themes for Christmas. Visitors are asked to vote on their favorite tree with money. One penny counts for one vote. This year’s contest raised $291.68.

Voting has become a tradition for some families as grandchildren are brought in by their grandparents. Mothers and daughters and groups of friends also come together to the store.

The majority of the funds collected are small change, but many people vote with paper money, too.

“There are quite a few one and five dollar bills, and some tens and twenties,” McCallister said.

McCallister said the fundraising effort is a giving opportunity for many people that might not be asked to give to a local charity on a regular basis.

McCallister said the “music tree” was the winner of the 2015 contest.

“The Hospice of Care team took care of my father, Doyle Sillyman, and it’s an honor to be able to give back to them through this contest each year,” McCallister said.

Funds go into the Hospice of Care Fund managed by the TCMH Healthcare Foundation. The monies will be utilized locally to help provide end of life care for Hospice of Care patients and their families.

According to Jay Gentry, director of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation, the Christmas tree contest has raised $2,068 for Hospice of Care since it began.

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