CRESTVIEW — Several area residents’ Decembers will be greener after a coordinated effort to provide Christmas trees for lower income residents.
David Fitzpatrick is continuing a family tradition of donating Christmas trees to families unable to purchase their own during the holidays.
Tuesday, Fitzpatrick rented a truck to collect 23 Frasier firs from Lowe's Home Improvement Store in Crestview. The store donated unsold Christmas trees to Fitzpatrick, who delivered them to Sharing and Caring in Crestview.
Families who can’t afford Christmas trees can receive a tree while they’re available.
Fitzpatrick — who has collected unsold Christmas trees for 23 years — usually enlists his three children to help him load the trees.
"They have been helping me for the past 12 years," Fitzpatrick said. Reba, 16, was on hand to assist her father this year, while the other two had to work, Fitzpatrick said.
Reba said she enjoys people’s reactions when they get the trees.
"I like to see the smile on their faces," Reba said.
Her father agreed.
"I love to give to people that need something," David said, adding he believes his children will continue the tradition.
"My kids said that when I couldn't do it anymore than they would take over," he said. "It's going to be an ongoing thing for the family."
Robin Marston, Sharing and Caring’s president, expressed gratitude for the Fitzpatricks’ effort.
"Our clients really appreciate it," Marston said. "For a lot of them, this is how they get their Christmas trees every year."
Christmas trees are usually left outside the organization’s building for pick-up.
"We usually don't have any left over," Marston said.
Want a tree? Sharing and Caring is at 298 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Trees are in limited supply.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.