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November 18, 2009 > Trees of angels brightens holiday season

Trees of angels brightens holiday season

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By courtesy of Amanda Loza

The 14th Annual Trees of Angels Tree Lighting Ceremony, hosted by Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation, Bernadin family McDonald's, and R.K. Electric, will kick off yet another holiday season on November 30 with a spectacular tree lighting at McDonald's located on Mission Boulevard in Fremont. This tree lighting, along with two other tree lightings in the Tri-City area and the Children's Holiday Breakfast with Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald, comprise the Trees of Angels events to benefit local hospice care through Pathways Hospice.

Al Bernardin, owner of several local McDonald's, began a Tree of Angels in 1996. It has expanded over the years and continues through the support of the Bernardin family including son Mark who now owns and manages the McDonald's franchises. Additional sponsors have helped to expand Trees of Angels tree lightings to Union City and Newark. These tree lightings allow sponsorship of a light on the tree in honor or memory of a loved one. Amanda Loza, Assistant Director of Development at Washington Hospital, explains, "We decided to partner with Pathways Hospice because this time of year is when many folks think about those who have passed away."

Pathways Hospice is dedicated to providing quality care for those nearing the end of their lives. Medical and support services concentrate on maintaining dignity and comfort for all - clients, families and friends. Last year, Trees of Angels raised over $28,000 and they to hope reach a similar number this year.

The tree lighting at McDonald's on November 30 will highlight several speakers including Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman and a performance by Saint Joseph's School Choir. The tree is a grand display of lights featuring an angel and two doves clearly visible from many parts of the city. In addition to the Fremont tree lighting, Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation is also partnering with the Union City Chamber of Commerce and the City of Newark to host tree lightings at the Nakamura Clinic and Newark City Hall, respectively.

Although the tree lightings are lovely, Loza admits that her favorite part of Trees of Angels is the Holiday Breakfast with Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald. She says, "We get to see folks with their families, and when the kids see Santa and Ronald McDonald, their eyes just light up." The breakfast, only $10 per person, includes a full breakfast of eggs, hash browns, sausages and juice plus a toy raffle, a photograph with Santa Claus, and a Ronald McDonald Magic Show. To reserve a place at the Holiday Breakfast, Download a registration form at or call (510) 791-3428.

The holidays are a time filled with celebration, love, and merriment, and Trees of Angels is a wonderful way to welcome the season. Tree lightings are free to the so take advantage of Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation's beautiful tree lightings that benefit an excellent cause.

Those who wish to sponsor a symbolic light and become an 'angel' may visit the website ( or call Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation at (510) 791-3428 to request a sponsorship form. Sponsors who donate $50 or more will receive a special commemorative angel ornament and recognition in both the Foundation Focus newsletter and online at

Trees of Angels

Tree Lighting
Monday, November 30
6:00 p.m.
McDonald's Restaurant
42800 Mission Blvd. at I-680, Fremont

Tree Lighting and Union City Chamber of Commerce Mixer
Wednesday, December 2
5:30 p.m.
Nakamura Clinic
33077 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City

Children's Holiday Breakfast with Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald
Saturday, December 5
8:30 a.m.
Washington West Building, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont
Reservations are required. $10 per person.
Download a registration form at

Tree Lighting
Monday, December 7
6:30 p.m.
Newark City Hall
37101 Newark Blvd, Newark

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