It's 10 pm and I just finished putting together our last (?) tree kit for this year. I could do this every night.
I wish we could keep going but its time to wrap things up. This year thanks to our incredible sponsors, our partners, our amazing volunteers, and all our neighbors and friends who gave donations of ornaments, financial contributions and other support, we have exceeded our goal of providing 150 Christmas trees to local kids and their families.
In all honesty, I lost count.
We planned on cutting 150. We cut an extra 6. We then had two beautiful artificial trees donated which went to partner locations to be enjoyed by a group home and a partner / sponsor location for their gift giving day to local kids. Those two trees will continue to grace those locations for years to come!
We had a couple more requests, so we (gulp) bought two more trees retail. Some quick math.... I count 160 trees total. Debbi and I have cried so many tears of happiness, joy, amazement, and had moments of utter speechlessness as we have watched our volunteers do what ever it takes to get it done. We cannot thank our volunteers enough. Tireless warriors. Champions for the cause.
And then there are the stories that are starting to come back to us.... A mom and her two daughters who cried as they told us that this is the first year they have had a tree since the girls were babies. They are in Jr. high and high school now. A little boy who has had a very rough go of it, living with Grandma and Grandpa who could not afford a tree this year. He hugged the tree, decorated it all by himself and danced for joy.
He danced for joy.
That little boy is why we do what we do. Those girls and their mom are why we do what we do. There are so many stories just like these. The stories are why we do what we do. We are committed to keep doing it year after year. Next year's goal is 200 trees. Who are we kidding? We'll do more than that. Next year tree #192 will be our 500th tree. Next year, we will be at a point where we can scale what we do. There are exciting times ahead!
In a world that sometimes seems like its lost all sense of sanity, in a world full of noise and so much angst, all we want to do is make the holidays brighter for kids and their families. Its that simple.
Its that powerful.
It is also quite a beautiful thing. We are truly blessed.
Thank you to our amazing volunteers, our sponsors and partners, our financial contributors, and all those anonymous folks who have been dropping off loads of ornaments on our front porch. You are all a part of this force for good. One Giving Tree does not exist without you. More pictures to come, videos to post, and sponsor and partner shout outs to happen soon.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. And many happy memories ahead for all.