Christmas trees from local farms are making their way to U.S. military bases this holiday season through the annual Trees for Troops program.
Volunteers from the New York Army and Air National Guard joined with area veterans and other project supporters at Ellms Christmas Trees in Charlton on Monday morning to help load about 125 Christmas trees being donated for the initiative.
Ellms Christmas Trees is one of the farms that donates fresh-cut trees annually as part of the nationwide program sponsored by the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx Corp.
This marks the 18th season that Trees for Troops will be loaded at Ellms Tree Farm, the upstate New York drop point for regional Christmas tree farms involved with Trees for Troops.
Over the past 17 years, the program has delivered a total of 277,001 real trees. More than 14,700 trees were donated in 2021.
In 2022, the program is estimating 15,300 total trees picked up from 54 locations and given to 84 total bases.
Once trees arrive at a base and are unloaded, each base determines how to distribute the trees to personnel.
“People appreciate the sacrifices military members and their families make each and every day,” said Dick Moore, past president of the National Christmas Tree Association and owner of Moore Tree Farm LLC in Groton, N.Y., in a press release. “And, as Christmas Tree farmers, we want to provide a little Christmas spirit and maybe start a new tradition with military families to be able to experience a traditional Christmas with a Real Tree.”
Christmas SPIRIT Foundation chair Nigel Manley, a Christmas tree grower in New Hampshire, believes that Trees for Troops is a great program. “It is a win-win-win situation for everyone involved,” he said in the release. “Christmas Tree growers love doing something for a cause, the military is appreciative of what they receive and FedEx makes it so easy for everyone involved.”
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