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Greenbrier’s Dream Tree continues for tenth year despite COVID

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:36 PM EST
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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (WDBJ) - In a building with a storeroom full of toys -- “It would be over 50,000,” explained Dream Tree organizer Alyssa Hill, “Probably over 60,000 toys that we push out every year” -- the volunteer elves are wrapping presents for what is a decade-long tradition at The Greenbrier.

“Obviously we want to keep as many traditions alive as possible, but we have to figure out how to do all those safely,” said Cam Huffman, the Greenbrier’s Director of Public Relations. “So there’s been a lot of discussion, a lot of planning going into activities and events.”

That means wrapping all those presents under the Dream Tree has its own rules in 2020.

“Must have the mask on,” Hill said. “We sanitize after every group leaves. That room is completely sanitized, every chair, every table, every instrument they could even possibly use.”

“A lot of planning went into that, figuring out exactly how do you wrap the toys,” Huffman said. “How do you pack the toys following all of the guidelines.”

So there were small groups in separate rooms, away from the main hotel, wrapping for the entire month of November, to ensure $1 million worth of toys are ready for distribution to charities at Christmas.

“I think the Dream Tree, like some other things, is more important than ever this year.” said Huffman. “A lot of families have had tough years, and we wanted to be able to be there to support those families.”

It’s a thought shared by the volunteers at work, from the wrappers to the organizers.

“Oh, I will volunteer as long as they’ll have me,” Hill said.

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