The Original Christmas Tree Lane ceases operation

The last Original Christmas Tree Lane fundraiser will be the last for the organization that has raised over $124,000 in the past nine years to support local youth. Distributed among the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest County, the Lake Elsinore and Wildomar chambers of commerce, Wildomar Rotary Club and the Boy Scouts, the generated funds from the event have provided youth leadership awards and funding for many local youth scholarships.

According to a press release issued by the OCTL, the California Department of Justice declared that the OCTL had been operating an illegal charity, so the OTLC committee decided to terminate the event. As of February 2017, the charity will no longer operate or host the yearly their Christmas tree raffle.

In order to continue operating, the group must register as an official nonprofit which involves paying a fee to register, having an Article of Incorporation, obtaining a 501(c) (3) tax ID, acquiring a bookkeeper and hiring a lawyer to handle legal paperwork.

As the now defunct OTCL committee wrote in a letter to volunteers and sponsors, “These requirements are not in our scope of understanding,” as they expressed their apologies for not complying with state requirements.

The organization reached out to the state and volunteered the charity’s books to audit anytime at the state’s expense; they have received no response. Thus, the OTLC committee agreed to end their decade of charity work. Unique in the holiday event structure, city locals will miss the annual Christmas tree raffle and the generosity of businesses and residents alike.

The charity said they are grateful for all the work they have accomplished, and the people who helped further their cause through volunteering, participation or donations. Since the committee had acquired the supplies to put on the event, they plan to host a large yard sale and donate all proceeds to local youth.

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