Malibu High booster club concludes Christmas tree sale

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The club has been selling Christmas trees at the corner of Heathercliff Road and Pacific Coast Highway to raise money for athletic programs.

By Michael Aushenker / Special to The Malibu Times

The roadside of Pacific Coast Highway near Heathercliff Road has been awash in Christmas trees this month as the Malibu High School Athletic Booster Club has been selling trees to raise money for sports programs. About 350 trees have been offered for sale at the lot, which opened after Thanksgiving and closes Dec. 22. Run by parents of students attending the high school, the Booster Club is the volunteer branch of Malibu High’s sports teams.

“We help facilitate financially where there are shortfalls in the program from kids who can’t pay fees for the uniforms,” said Tony Perez, president of Malibu High School Booster Club. “We try not to say no to the students.”

Perez, a parent volunteer who has run the club for the past year and a half, said that the booster club is key to subsidizing a wide swath of sports-related costs, from equipment and awards, to transportation and field maintenance.

“We help facilitate over 31 teams,” Perez said. “It’s all part of the athletic program [under] Chris Neier, athletic director of Malibu High School.”

The club relies on both parent and student volunteers to help augment the athletic programs, and operates under the auspices of the school’s Shark Fund. Volunteers work closely with Neier, the coaches and assistant coaches to facilitate a wide array of year-round fundraising activity.

“Our trees are beautiful and we had about 60 volunteer kids unload trees in the pouring rain,” Perez said. “Just goes to show the school spirit behind this.”

The lot itself is managed by John Payola.

“It’s a great chance for people to buy their trees and donate to the high school,” Perez said. “We have signs all over and people know that it’s a high school event. We also sell Sharkwear at the tree lot.”

Booster Club parent volunteer Casey Reardon, whose son is a junior at Malibu High, handles the Sharkwear.

“My son is not even in sports,” Reardon, who has volunteered each of the past four years, said. “He was on the polo team and now he’s not, and I just kept helping the Booster Club because they needed the help.”

Reardon said a full array of Malibu Sharks paraphernalia has been sold at the lot, including sweatshirts, t-shirts, stadium seats, coffee mugs, note pads, car decals, license plate frames, yoga pants and sweats. “We even have baby onesies with a Malibu logo on it,” Reardon said.

Each piece of merchandise comes affixed with the Shark logo, drawn by Christiane Snyder.

As of last month, Sharkwear has also been available online. The Sharkwear Store, the online shop for t-shirts, caps and hoodies displaying the school’s logo, can be found via the high school’s website, MalibuHigh.org, listed under “Athletics.”

Reardon said that the Booster Club is always looking for new volunteers, and this week, they will appreciate the local patronage at the lot.

“It’s a tradition we look forward to and it’s our biggest fundraiser,” Reardon said. “Our sports department depends on the money generated from the Christmas tree lot.”

“It used to be people sitting around bonfires,” Reardon continued, “and now it’s a huge event. We have the student-athletes and cheerleaders volunteer to help load the trees. It’s a really nice once-a-year thing.”