Gift of a Green Christmas Tree, a Fort Collins-based charity that each year provides hundreds of free Christmas trees to brighten the holiday season for families, senior citizens and others with limited resources, will focus its efforts on families impacted by the September floods.
“With the ever-present need in our communities to brighten each holiday season, we want to make sure we continue to reach out to everyone we can,” said Ryan Behm, who heads the charity. “This program is not just about the families who receive a tree. It’s also about the volunteers who gain something positive from the experience.”
On Nov. 23, the Colorado State Forest Service, Boy Scouts and other volunteers will harvest up to 300 young lodgepole pine trees from a 19-year-old burn scar in Pingree Park — Colorado State University’s mountain campus and outdoor classroom for natural resources students. Trees will only be cut in designated locations to improve forest health on the campus.
“We’re actually helping out the forest here, by thinning the stand to provide less-crowded growing conditions for the remaining trees,” said Boyd Lebeda, district forester for the CSFS Fort Collins District.
On Dec. 7, volunteers will deliver the trees to families throughout the northern Front Range, including the communities of Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland. Donated lighting, ornaments and a stand are included with each tree.
Behm started Gift of a Green Christmas Tree in 2003, delivering 23 trees that year. The organization is now part of the broader 501c3 organization Northern Colorado Shares, of which Behm is president.
Last year, the program provided more than 300 trees to families along the northern Front Range. The charity obtains most of the recipients’ names from United Way of Larimer County 2-1-1, House of Neighborly Service and similar organizations that support families in need. This year, many of the recipient families will be those who were impacted by fall floods.
To volunteer with Gift of a Green Christmas Tree, make a tax-deductible donation or donate artificial trees, tree stands, Christmas lights or other decorations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit nocoshares.org for more information.