Tree Lighting Celebration

Tree Lighting Celebration

A Recap of the 36th Annual Virtual Tree Lighting Celebration

For the first time in 36 years, the annual Tree Lighting Celebration hosted by Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Inc. was held online, without the traditional venue, music, or dinner. But faithful Adopt-A-Family supporters still turned out in full force for the one-hour livestream event, the agency’s single largest fundraiser, held the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The virtual Tree Lighting Celebration not only captured and conveyed the heart of the agency’s work with homeless and at-risk families in Palm Beach County, it raised more than $700,000 – a remarkable and generous showing of support from the community.

Held in real-time, a live auction featured a three-night stay at the Blackberry Farm resort in the Smoky Mountains; a two-night golf package at the Old Palm Golf Club; a 38-bottle dual-zone wine cooler (including 12 red and 12 white wines); a private wine tasting event; and a sunset champagne and dinner cruise. The silent auction was held over 21 days through an online portal specifically designed to facilitate bidding. Silent auction items included gift baskets, luxe holiday decorations, dining certificates, and stunning orchid arrangements, a hallmark of the event.

As always, the focus was on the families Adopt-A-Family serves. Through previously recorded videos, Tree Lighting Celebration attendees got to meet the people who benefit from agency programs. One grandmother said Project Grow, the agency’s afterschool/summer program, is like “sunshine” for her young grandson. Another resident shared how she found refuge and understanding at Adopt-A-Family, after surviving traumas that included domestic violence and the death of a child. The final video took viewers inside Julian Place, Adopt-A-Family’s new 14-unit townhome community for at-risk families whose children attend nearby Highland Elementary School.

“This has been a unique year in a number of ways,” said Adopt-A-Family CEO Matthew Constantine. “There have been changes that no one ever expected, and we are receiving calls from people who would have never needed our services had a worldwide pandemic not happened. We are grateful to have the continued support of our community and some very special donors. They remain committed to our mission and the work we do. Their support enables us to be here for the families of our community when they need us most.”

To get a behind-the-scenes look at our first-ever Virtual Tree Lighting event, check out our blog!


The 36th Annual Virtual Tree Lighting Celebration and Online Auction

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Time: 6:45pm – 8:00pm

Adopt-A-Family’s 36th Annual Virtual Tree Lighting Celebration will kick off the holiday season on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. All proceeds will benefit the agency’s programs for homeless, low-income, and at-risk Palm Beach County families.

Beth Hennessy and Nancy Kalaher will serve as co-chairs of our first ever virtual event. Adopt-A-Family is grateful for their tireless support and leadership as well as the ongoing dedication of the Tree Lighting Committee.

The event will feature an exciting live auction, remarks from CEO Matt Constantine, and stories of hope from families who have benefitted from Adopt-A-Family’s services.


Online Auction

The event’s online auction (in place of our renowned silent auction) will open on Saturday, November 21 at 8 am. Bidding will close on December 5 at 8 pm. You can bid on an array of incredible gifts by registering at


3 Ways to Watch the Live Broadcast on December 1:


How to Pre-Register and Bid in the Online Auction:

1. Visit the event’s auction site

2. Click on the Register Now button to create your bidder account.

3. Click Submit after entering all fields. An email will confirm your account and bidder number.

4. Once registered, go back to Login by entering your bidder number, phone number, or email address where it says Welcome!

5. Login with password and tap GO.

6. Confirm your identity and hit Continue.

7. Browse and search for items. To place a bid, tap on the navy Bid/Info button. You can place a fast bid or bid the max to secure the item.

8. Tap on MENU > MY ITEMS to view your activity throughout the event.


Video Tutorial: How To Watch/Bid in the Virtual Tree Lighting Celebration


Questions? Contact Layren Calvo at (561) 253-1363 or 


2019 Tree Lighting Reflections:  

On December 3, 2019, we commemorated our 35th Annual Tree Lighting Celebration and raised more than $600,000 to help local families in need. The event was chaired by longtime supporters Brenda McGarrity and Jen Dudnyk, featured over 350 top-tier auction items, and had more than 200 guests in attendance. 

The night was filled with holiday cheer and gratitude for those who have supported Adopt-A-Family throughout the year. Our guests were serenaded by the talented King’s Academy choir as they arrived for the evening’s cocktail reception and silent auction. The program included remarks by our CEO, Matt Constantine, our event co-chair, Brenda McGarrity, and a moving testimony from a father of four whose family was saved from homelessness. While our guests enjoyed an exquisite gourmet dinner, our auctioneer Neil Saffer conducted an exciting Live Auction that included a spectacular orchid arrangement, a handmade wreath personalized to Adopt-A-Family, tickets to Celine Dion, a VIP backcountry tour through Corkscrew Swamp, a two-night stay at a Montage Resort, and a seven-day trip to Barcelona. The crowd also witnessed a good-natured bidding war in pursuit of a one-of-a-kind football, specially autographed to Adopt-A-Family by New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick.

This event would not be possible without the hard work of our dedicated Tree Lighting committee members, our sponsors, our vendors, and everyone that in one way or another contributed to its success. A big thank you to all our supporters. 

The 36th Annual Tree Lighting Celebration will take place on December 1, 2020. We hope to see you there!