One of our favorite annual events is the Target Share A Tree program. Every year, for the past 20 years, Target Stores across the country partner with their local United Way to donate decorated artificial Christmas trees to families who may not otherwise be able to afford a Christmas tree.
We are lucky in that our local Target store in Charlottesville not only donates the two decorated trees, but ALL their display Christmas trees. This year we were able to deliver 29 beautiful trees, with 28 of them going to families in Greene County. We partnered with the GRACE program (Greene Alliance of Church and Community Efforts). They identified families who were receiving holiday assistance and did not have a Christmas tree.
Through the generosity of Enterprise Rent-A Car, donating the use of a 16 foot box truck, and with the assistance of volunteers Chris Laing and Henry Graff, we loaded up the trees and donated ornaments at the Target store and headed to the Stanardsville Baptist Church.
Once there, we set up an impromptu Christmas tree stand in front of the church, and families soon started driving in and picking out their trees. Since we had had snow the day before, the setting was like a holiday card.
Volunteer extraordinaire, Rhonda Oliver, director of GRACE, was there checking off her list of families, greeting those who arrived and fielding phone calls from those having trouble getting out that day. In the end, we ended up delivering five trees to people’s houses, and Rhonda delivered several more. She sent this message later that day:
“I want to thank you so much for the Christmas Trees!! I have had several calls from families that have been so thankful!! They've told me over and over how beautiful the trees are. I don't think they were expecting them to be that nice!! I also delivered to a family in an apartment complex and a young (age 10 or so) boy offered to help me carry the tree up the set of stairs. On the way, I asked him if he had his tree up yet and he said, "No, we won't be able to get one this year". I wasn't expecting that answer but I told him I would bring him a tree and his face just lit up!! I plan to take it in the morning because I want my son to go with me. Even after working with needy families for all these years, it's still heartbreaking to know there are families especially with children that can't afford the simple pleasure of a tree at Christmas. This was a wonderful gift for 28 families here in Greene today. Please pass along our appreciation to United Way as well as Target. Thank you so much and God Bless.”
Posted by Kim Connolly
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