Trees for Troops: Free Christmas Trees Light Up Military Families

Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Means/U.S. Air Force

Trees for Troops is making the holidays a little bit better for thousands of military families with free Christmas trees delivered to bases throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Born from a partnership between the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx, the organization has provided more than 122,000 trees since 2005. The trees are donated from contributing tree farms in North America and from the public.

The deliveries are made possible by FedEx, the charity's grand sponsor, which ships the trees for free.

"Our employees are very supportive of this endeavor as many have served and many are serving," said FedEx spokesperson Paula Bosler. "The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation reached out to us as they needed a means to help get these trees delivered and so we thought it was a wonderful program and it's turned out to be a wonderful network of teamwork."

Rick Dungey, of Trees for Troops, said that the feedback they get from the service members and their families is the best part of the job.

"We get emails and pictures, letters and all kinds of communication back from those that get a tree," said Dungey. "Some people who get a tree to tell us, 'We weren't even in the mood for Christmas until we got the tree and now we feel a little better and we're going to celebrate.' It just becomes a labor of love at that point."

In 2012, Trees for Troops provided 18,694 Christmas trees donated by 750 growers and retailers in 28 states.

This year trees have already been sent to abroad to bases in Afghanistan and Southwest Asia and domestic tree deliveries begin today.

Trees for Troops weekend kicks off this Friday when consumers can buy and donate trees through participating retailers.

"We are impacting people's lives in a positive way and that just makes it all worth it," said Dungey.

To learn more, visit Trees for Troops.

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