PORT RICHEY — As it has for the past 10 years, the Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco helped kick off the holiday season with its annual Festival of Trees Winter Wonderland and Auction.

The event, which brought in more than 150 to visit for the evening, was held Nov. 22 at the Columbian Events Center.

“It really was a night for holiday cheer,” said Good Samaritan Managing Director Mike Singer. “We had an outstanding event. The bidding was spirited for the 39 trees we had.”

Singer said the money raised was still being tallied, but the total raised is going to be over $54,000.

“Last year, we raised a little over $38,000, so it was a substantial increase over last year,” he said. “We had four trees that went for over $2,000 each. We also had some very good bidding on some festive holiday jackets. It was a very successful event.”

Singer said all the proceeds go to benefit the health clinic, which provides care to people who don’t have neither private nor public health insurance.

“Everything here is free. The exams are free. The labs are free and the pharmacy is free,” he explained. “Basically, it costs us around $80,000 a year to run our pharmacy and labs. What we raised at the Festival of Trees will pay about 75 percent of those costs.”

Singer said the clinic has one paid practioner, a medical assistant and an administrative staff.

“All of our other medical people are all volunteers,” he said. “But, we have a lot of expenses just like any other business. These funds also help with everything from alcohol wipes to utility bills.”

Singer called the event “the most successful by far,” and added thoughts are already leaning toward next year’s event.

“A lot of people who made trees this year told me even before this night they were working on next year’s designs,” he said.

He gave credit to the event committee who “works hard to get the sponsors and make sure the themes of the trees are diverse.”

“I am indebted to the committee for all of their hard work and the incredible support and generosity of our community,” Singer said.

People who might still want to contribute to the year-round work the clinic does, Singer said, should visit their web site at goodsamclinic.org or mail contributions to 5334 Aspen St., New Port Richey, FL 34652.