On Saturday, Dec. 3 the Schupbachs, Jim, Kathy, and Shannon, of 15 Copper Lane hosted their ninth annual Christmas Tree Lighting to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The tree, a 40-foot Vermont pine that was planted at the house by its previous owners, more than 20 years ago when it was merely two-feet tall, now holds more than 4,000 Christmas lights and has become a annual holiday tradition for the friends and neighbors of Levittown and surrounding communities.
Kathy said the crowd roared with delight when they heard the sirens rounding the corner of their street. This year the street had to be shut down to accommodate the crowd and the Levittown Fire Department visiting with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
“The Levittown Fire Department was second to none,” Jim said. He said the community really enjoys the event because it’s like a “kick-off to the holiday season,” and that the event grows each year because of the generous donations of local businesses, organizations, and the community.
The Shupbach’s daughter, Shannon and her Girl Scout Brownie Troop of Abbey Lane, led the crowd in carols.
The Schupbachs began the tradition in 2002, first as a tribute to Jim’s late brother who once joked that he knew the family couldn’t resist decorating the 40-foot tall pine. That began the unexpected tradition.
After 2004, the family began hosting the event to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Kathy said, “Christmas is about giving back, and about giving to children.” They agreed that the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation matched their giving interests.
The Schupbachs now work closely with Kathie Lombardi of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York each year for the annual gift. This year, the event yielded close to $7,000, the Schupbachs biggest contribution ever, with a growing total of nearly $27,000 over the past years.
Kathy said Dan McBride of the Levittown Starbucks was a fantastic and unforeseen contributor to this year’s event also, donating gift baskets and coffee, and also the coffee service.
Jim’s co-workers at Local 138, Operating Engineers also come through big for the event preparation helping with the last minute tree lighting maintenance and donations, including the always-magical donation by Local 138 co-worker and friend of the family, Kenny Huber. Dennis Synder, also of Local 138 has donated his grilling time and service for the past several years with over 35 pounds of grilled meat, pulled pork, ribs, etc. from his pastime, competition barbecuing.
The tree’s lighting mostly stays intact throughout the year. Jim repairs any damaged or non-working strands and adjusts the strings of lights within a weekend prior to the event with the help from his co-workers; he also credits the Pride Rental Equipment company for their donation of the use of a lift to be able to reach the topmost of the pine.
Many of this year’s contributors have already made the commitment to next year’s event, which will continue annually on the first Saturday of each December.