The image shows two adults and a child smiling among the trees at a holiday tree market.
October 11, 2023 Community

Shining Light Tree Lot Finds A New Home

Shining Light Tree Lot Finds A New Home at Saint Louis Bank

9811 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Opening Day:  Friday, November 24 from 10 am to 7 pm
Saturdays:  10 am to 7 pm
Sundays:  11 am to 7 pm
Wednesdays and Thursdays:  4 to 8 pm
Fridays:  4 to 8 pm

If you’ve been a resident of the Ladue area in St. Louis for any length of time in the last 72 years, you may already be quite familiar with Delta Gamma Center’s Shining Light Tree Lot. The lot has been a beloved tradition for generations, offering holiday shoppers a selection of beautiful trees and smaller seasonal items like wreaths and garland, with proceeds going to a wonderful cause. For anyone not yet familiar, allow us to make the introduction and invite you to join in this wonderful holiday tradition!

The Tree Lot’s Origin Story

In 1936, the Delta Gamma sorority selected “Service for Sight” as their official philanthropy, and for several years, the local DG alumnae chapter organized to provide scholarship funds for individuals studying to work with young children with visual impairments in either an education or medical setting.

With their sights set on doing more, the organization enlisted the help of the American Foundation for the Blind to carry out a survey to identify a specific area with the biggest need. The survey revealed a gap in support for preschool-aged children with visual impairments as well as support and guidance for their parents. Thus, the Delta Gamma Center was established and set out on the new mission of providing nursery school services for children 0-5 with visual impairments in St. Louis and guidance programming for their parents and guardians.

Only a few years later, in the summer of 1951, Elizabeth “Bettie” Stupp Kohl had the idea of running a tree lot as an annual event to raise funds for the newly formed charity. Bettie served as the first tree lot chair and Pat Gilbert served as the first sales chair, and along with some 220+ Delta Gamma sisters, they launched the first Shining Light Tree Lot.

That first year, the Shining Light Tree Lot sold 3,400 Christmas trees, countless ornaments and other hand-made items, and raised $5,400 in net profits in 15 days. Thanks to those proceeds, the DGC was able to hire their first teacher-director.

Photo of the first Shining Light Tree lot in 1951, showing two women in elegant fur coats in the holiday tree lot.

A New Era

As many of the local residents may be familiar, for the majority of its 72-year history the tree lot has been hosted in the same location on Manchester Road were many memories were made and countless Christmas trees selected, all continuing to benefit the DGC’s programming, which now serves children from birth through high school and their families.

This year, Saint Louis Bank is proud and excited to announce that our parking lot, located at 9811 S 40 Drive, St. Louis, MO 63124, will be the new location for the Shining Light Tree Lot in the 2023 Holiday Season, and we invite our entire community to stop by for their opening day celebration on Friday, November 24 from 10 am to 7 pm.

For more information about the Delta Gamma Center, visit: