TOP PHOTO: Several area businesses have partnered together with Compassion Closet to help provide supplies for foster children this holiday season. The tree pictured is at United Cumberland Bank.

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Several local businesses have partnered with Compassion Closet to help provide much needed supplies for foster children. There are six area businesses and organizations who are helping with the holiday “Host-A-Tree” fundraiser. 

Participants include New Horizon Baptist Church, First Franklin Financial, United Cumberland Bank, Manahouse Coffee, The Doorway Gourmet and the LaFollette Housing Authority. Each of these locations have placed a Christmas tree with ornaments on it. Those wishing to, can choose an ornament and either purchase the item on the ornament and return it to that location or give a monetary donation for the item to be purchased.

According to Campbell County Compassion Closet Director Pam Winter, the “Host-A-Tree” fundraiser is her organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.  

“The purpose is to help to stock the closets so that we are prepared to serve new foster families and placements throughout the next year. The financial donations that come in allow us to purchase items that are needed, as well as have funding available for the operational expenses for the start of the next year,” Winter said. 

According to Winter, the Compassion Closet is an organization that provides tangible goods to children in foster care as well as kinship and adoptive families. 

“When children are placed in these families there is often no time or resources for even basic items. While the new family is also in upheaval getting settled, a helping hand with clothing, diapers and other needed items can make a huge difference,” Winter said. 

How the host a tree started:

– Immanuel Church (, the church where the founders (Rob & Julie Gillen) attend, wanted to do something at Christmas to support Compassion Closet.  

“After some brainstorming, we came up with the idea of doing a tree with ornaments listing needed items that the closet could use to support foster families.  Church members would take an ornament, purchase the item (or give a financial donation for the item), and then bring it back to church.  It was a huge success, so we decided to expand it and offer the opportunity to “Host-A-Tree” to other churches/organizations.  This is our 4th year, and we have over 40 trees across East Tennessee,” Winter said. It is the second Host-A-Tree event in Campbell County.

“We’ve doubled the number of businesses hosting a tree for us this year in Campbell County! We are so thankful for the support,” Winter said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/19/2022-6AM)