Christmas tree growers in New Hampshire are again donating hundreds of trees for military members and their families this year as part of the Trees For Troops program.
“Trees for Troops is a wonderful program initiated and conducted by the Christmas Tree Industry,” New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper said. “It epitomizes the giving nature of the season and helps provide a little touch of home and tradition for those who are serving our country.”
Jasper was on hand, along with Bethlehem school children, to help load trees from 25 tree farms in New Hampshire and Vermont recently. The nationwide Trees For Troops effort is in its 17th year. Organizers said they will collect 14,500 trees this year for military families at 77 bases and installations. The trees reach those serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard all over the world.
In Bethlehem, fifth-graders volunteer every year to help staff like Nigel Manley, manager of the Rocks Christmas Tree Farm, to load up trees for delivery. The Rocks is the North Country Conservation & Education Center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
The trees were donated by growers from New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as by local businesses, schools, and individuals.
More than 450 trees were loaded by the volunteers in Bethlehem into a FedEx trailer for delivery to military bases in Georgia. FedEx has long helped the Trees For Troops program and has logged more than 960,000 miles delivering the trees over the years. Trees For Troops is part of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the charitable branch of the National Christmas Tree Association, and has delivered more than 260,000 trees since the program started.