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FedEx Blog

These messages from Trees for Troops recipients will warm your heart

January 7, 2014

Imagine a smiling group of U.S. soldiers gathered around a Christmas tree that was grown on an American farm and shipped to arrive fresh and green somewhere on the other side of the world, just in time for Christmas. Or, imagine a military spouse and children sharing joyous memories of Christmas through the gift of a free, real Christmas tree while their family member is away serving our country. Trees for Troops makes this vision a reality!

The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx made this program a reality for the first time in 2005. That year, the program was organized in only 45 days and delivered 4,300 live Christmas trees to families at five military bases in the U.S. and overseas. Now, with the generous help of FedEx, we distribute 16,000-17,000 trees each year.

FedEx has been amazing to work with over the past nine years and we are so happy to collaborate on this program. Many of the drivers volunteer to make the tree pickups and deliveries, and they look forward to Trees for Troops every year!

Some may think that giving a Christmas tree to someone, even someone as deserving as a military family, is a kind gesture, but how does it really help? There are other charitable programs that provide necessities like food, clothing and household items.

Those charities do great work for our service members, but the goal of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation is to bring the spirit of Christmas and memories of home to soldiers with the gift of a farm-grown Christmas tree. A Christmas tree is a tangible item, but it’s what it represents and the memories it holds that mean so much to the recipients.

The thank you messages, cards and photos that we get every year from families that have received a tree can bring you to tears. They are so heartfelt and thankful for this gift that makes their burden a little easier during the Christmas season. Troops serving overseas commonly talk about how good the trees smell.

U.S. Navy Senior Chief Mark Watts, who was stationed in Kuwait when he received a tree from the program, tells us, “Where I was at, there was nothing green. So to get that live, pine smell, it smells like Christmas and reminds you of Christmas.”

Other troops and their families shared:

“I haven’t seen my kids smile so much and as big as they did tonight. For that, I thank you, and it truly means the world to me.”

“We aren’t going to have many gifts this year, but having a beautiful tree in the living room was enough to help us both bring back memories of Christmases past and the love and sharing that we miss from our families back home and those that aren’t with us to celebrate anymore.”

“This Christmas will be a bittersweet one, because I am deploying within days after Christmas, however this tree has made it very special because we have never had a real tree. It is so perfect, and the kids (5 of them) really enjoyed decorating it. Thanks for the great memory!”

The Trees for Troops program has delivered more than 139,000 trees to military families in the U.S. and to troops stationed overseas in countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar and Spain. That number represents not just 139,000 Christmas trees, but hundreds of farm families that grew those trees for 5-10 years and then donated them to this program.  It represents 139,000 military families that got to experience the joy of having a real Christmas tree during the holidays. And it represents hundreds of thousands of new memories that will last a lifetime.

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    Elana McCall says:

    I have had the priviledge of volunteering for Trees for Troops for the last four years at MacDill Airforce Base in Tampa, Fl . During that time, the stories the military families have shared with me, the hugs, and expressions of gratitude have brought tears to my eyes.I feel truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful program.
    Elana McCall

    Brian says:

    One of the hundreds of community and worldwide giving programs that makes me
    proud to be part of the FedEx family.

    Angie Spear says:

    I love the smell of a live Christmas tree, And I am thankful Fedex can make it possible for our troups halfway across the world.

    Shirl Riddick says:

    1/14/14 I’m an Army “brat” and proud of it. Daddy was in the US Army for years. My husband is a Navy Air Corp veteran who served in Vietnam. Anything and everything that we as a Company can do to help our citizens serving in any branch of the military and their families we should do. Thank you FedEx; this is just another great thing that you do to help so many. I’m proud to be part of the FedEx family for over 30 years. Shirl

    Mary says:

    My grandsons live at Joint Base Lewis McCord. This year they called to say, “Guess what Nanna … we have a real tree … and … FedEx delivered.”

    Marilia Oliveira says:

    Beautiful story! Maybe next year try to have FedEx employees write notes and cards to be delivered with the tree too!

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