Each year, a really lovely organization called The Christmas Spirit Foundation, with generous support from Federal Express, sends Christmas trees to troops deployed overseas, and also provides free Christmas trees to military families at home. The 2015 base distribution locations have been announced. If you are interested in possibly obtaining a tree through this program, and they are coming to your base, get in touch with your family readiness center to see what process they’ll be using this year.
Trees are being offered at 65 military installations in 22 states. Here’s the complete list:
The Christmas Spirit Foundation doesn’t specify how the participating bases should distribute the trees, and different bases have different programs. The program is most likely coordinated through your family readiness center (Fleet and Family Readiness Center, Marine Corps Community Services, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Coast Guard Work-Life Office or Military Service Family Center, or Army Community Services.) Some bases determine eligibility based upon financial need, some use a voucher system, and some just offer the trees on a first-come, first-served basis. I imagine some locations are even using a system I haven’t imagined or heard of.
Where Do These Trees Come From?
The Christmas Spirit Foundation supports the Trees for Troops through a variety of means, including
- donations from individual tree farmers,
- donations from Christmas tree retailers,
- donations from customers of Christmas tree retailers,
- donations from individuals, and matching donations from some employers,
- logistical support from FedEx, and
- Combined Federal Campaign funds.
Since its inception in 2005, the Trees for Troops program has donated over 139,000 trees to deployed locations and military families. That’s a lot of Christmas cheer!
If you would like to receive a tree through this program, check the list to see if your base is included and call the appropriate family readiness office to learn about their distribution process. If you’d like to make a contribution to the Christmas Spirit Foundation, you can check out their website at the Christmas Spirit Foundation.