Milford Library to raise money for local family

MILFORD — The holiday spirit has arrived at the Milford Public Library, but it doesn’t end with Christmas trees and holiday decorations.

Trees now line the window facing the amphitheater for the 17th annual Christmas Tree Extravaganza, each with its own theme decorated by local organizations, businesses and groups.

“This place is like a Christmas wonderland,” Director Kay Hudson said.

The trees are judged by library patrons who can make donations toward their favorite tree. Boxes to do so can be found at the front desk.

The donations will be tallied at the end of the season and donated to this year’s recipient: JR Griffith.

Mr. Griffith was diagnosed in August with AML Leukemia. He is a volunteer firefighter and has deep roots within the community.

“His grandmother absolutely loved the library,” Ms. Hudson said. “She was one of my first patrons when I started here 40 years ago. Because of his mom, aunt and grandmother being in here, we had a special kind of feeling with it.  And his dad was a former fire police for Carlisle. They’re a very community oriented family.”

Mr. Griffith is now married to Renee Griffith, a local nurse. The couple has three boys aged 16, 15 and 7, according to library staff.

Money raised through the Christmas Tree Extravaganza will support the family and extra expenses incurred from Mr. Griffith’s care and treatment in the coming months.

“He will soon go to Philly for treatments and have to stay for six weeks. Surely, this will cost the family in gas, meals and other needs besides regular medical expenses,” Ms. Hudson said.

The annual fundraising event started 17 years ago as a contest between local groups. They could decorate a tree and have a chance to win a gift card to a local hardware store.

Library staff quickly turned the extravaganza from merely a contest to a plea for help by adopting a family for the season.

“Then we realized there were some families who were our patrons who needed assistance,” Ms. Hudson recalled. “We have always had a good response to this. It’s our way to reach out to the community to say thank you. We’re not just here as a library.”

Circulation Manager Norma Chalmers’ son Michael was second on the list.

“He was the next one. He was in a bad vehicle accident. I can’t tell you how much it [the extravaganza] meant to us,” Ms. Chalmers said.

Ms. Hudson said she feels as much satisfaction out of the event, if not more, than those they help.

“I love helping other people, and Norma does, too. It helps make this job unique,” she said. “We usually give the money to the families on Dec. 23. It can be very overwhelming. We’re very fortunate here at this library. We reach out to the community and the community reaches back out to us. I always feel like we’re the anchor here in downtown Milford.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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