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For the fifth successive year, Fort Collins-based charity Northern Colorado Shares has teamed up with the Colorado State Forest Service to provide more than 200 fresh-cut Christmas trees for local families in need – all obtained from the Colorado State University Mountain Campus off Pingree Park Road.
This week, CSFS staff and volunteers harvested the young lodgepole pine trees from a 22-year-old burn scar on the campus property. The trees were obtained for Gift of a Green Christmas Tree – a program of the broader 501(c)(3) organization NoCo Shares – which each year provides hundreds of free Christmas trees from the CSFS and other sources to brighten the holiday season for families, senior citizens and others with limited resources.
“This is the 13th year for the Gift of a Green Christmas Tree project, which not only brightens the holidays for families in need with a fresh-cut tree and all of the trimmings, but which has also created an annual volunteer opportunity for families wanting to get involved in their communities and spread the spirit and joy of giving,” said Kathie Robson, NoCo Shares marketing director and treasurer.
NoCo Shares President Ryan Behm started Gift of a Green Christmas Tree in 2003, delivering 23 trees that year. The charity now obtains most tree recipients’ names from United Way of Larimer County 2-1-1, House of Neighborly Service and similar organizations that support families in need.
Since 2012, the CSFS has joined forces with NoCo Shares to provide Christmas trees from CSU property. Trees are only cut in designated locations and under specific guidelines to improve forest health.
On Dec. 3, local volunteers will deliver the trees to families in the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley areas and to other Front Range communities as far south as Fort Lupton and Frederick. Donated lighting, ornaments and a stand are included by NoCo Shares with each delivery.
To volunteer with the organization, make a tax-deductible donation or donate artificial trees, tree stands, Christmas lights or ornaments, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://nocoshares.org. For more information about the CSFS Volunteer Program, go to www.csfs.colostate.edu/volunteer.