Local shelter gives away free Christmas trees | News

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Local shelter gives away free Christmas trees
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- More than 100 local families received an early Christmas present on Wednesday.

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An anonymous donor purchased real Christmas trees and handed them all over to Trinity Rescue Mission.

"It's someone who's been a longtime supporter of us. He wanted people to have a Christmas tree that could not afford one on their own," said Pastor Jim Kilpatrick.

The shelter decided to give all the trees away to area families in need this holiday season.

"It's one thing to be an adult and homeless. It's another to be homeless and a child around Christmas," Kilpatrick explained.

The trees were handed out at three different locations across the city, including the shelter's headquarters on W. Union St.

Paula Williams, a mother of four, came and picked out a tree with her six-month-old in a stroller.

"I thought we were not going to get a tree this year because my family could not afford one," she said.

Now, Williams exclaimed that she was excited to make her kids' Christmas a little brighter.

"To get a real tree and smell the pine is great!," she said.

The only thing she has to do now is worry about making her new tree sparkle. "Next stop? Dollar store for decorations," she laughed.

Trinity Rescue Mission said it would continue to hand out the trees until they were all gone.

The other two locations were at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 7673 Collins Rd., and Normandy Park Baptist Church, 7050 Normandy Blvd.

It's the first time, Kilpatrick said, in more than 52 years the shelter's distributed free Christmas trees.


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