Nearly a dozen Long Island families will have a brighter holiday season this year thanks to a new program providing those in need with freshly cut Christmas trees, free.
Several of the families came together Sunday to choose trees at Hall Enterprises, an East Patchogue landscaping company.
Owner Charlie Hall used a chain saw to cut down the selections. Meanwhile, children posed for pictures with local police officers dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, and took home decorative tree lights, ornaments and a tree skirt.
Members of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Fifth Precinct teamed up with the landscaping company and the Bellport-based nonprofit, Bellport Hagerman East Patchogue Alliance, to donate 10 Christmas trees and ornaments to local families.
Dennis Nix, 36, of Bellport, visited the East Patchogue tree farm with his wife, Sylvia, and their family. Having heard about the event through the alliance, Nix said he was excited to see his four children pick out their own authentic Christmas tree.
“I’m just looking for something that my children would like,” Nix said as he contemplated what tree to pick.
“Whatever they want, that’s what I’m trying to get for them because they enjoy the holidays,” Nix said. “It’s about giving and having fun this time of season.”
Sarayna Francois, 18, of Bellport, the couple’s daughter, said she was particularly excited to see the trees right before they were cut down.
“It’s really cool. It was nice to see all the trees growing around each other in their natural environment. It was a beautiful thing to see,” Francois said. “I didn’t know that this nursery was so close to us, so it was really nice.”
After the family had picked out their tree, Sylvia Nix said she was most looking forward to her children being able to spruce it up.
“It’s definitely their size,” Sylvia Nix said of the tree. “Picking out our own tree, it was a blessing and the kids are really excited. It’s helpful in this season . . . so we were very thankful. We have a beautiful tree to work on tonight. The kids will be happy and it will be a blessed Christmas.”
Insp. William Silva, Fifth Precinct commander, said he expects Sunday’s tree giveaway to be repeated next year.
“We just talked about making it an annual event, and I think we will now,” said Silva, who helped organize the donations. “Around this time of year, when there’s kids involved, it’s never a problem for our officers to step up.”