Members of Jay Bustard's family have been selling Christmas trees for more than 80 years. But beginning Saturday, the sales at Bustard's Christmas Tree Farm are special because, for the fifth year, the Bustard's are dedicating the weekend to "Trees for Troops."
"We are going to have our trees for troops weekend where people can come and buy a tree or donate money towards a tree or just send a Christmas card. And those trees will be delivered to the soldiers free of charge," said owner Jay Bustard.
Bustard's has already donated 50 trees, some of which have been shipped to service men and women overseas. This weekend, customers can buy trees at a discount and FedEx will ship those to service members and their families at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Chaplains there will distribute them as they see fit.
"It's $35 per tree, or they can just donate for part of a tree. Or they can just bring a Christmas card or sign one of our Christmas cards for free. So there's a whole range of activities that they can be involved in," said Jay Bustard.
Last year, Bustards and their customers sent out 215 trees. They're hoping for 300 this year.
"Years ago, I wasn't in the service, but I lived overseas, and I realized the difficulties of being away from your family at Christmas. And so when we heard about it four or five years ago, we just felt that this was the thing to do," said Bustard.
All three Bustard's Christmas Tree Farms will be open from 9:00am to 9:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. And there are other farms in the area that are participating in Trees for Troops as well.
The organization that runs Trees for Troops: http://www.christmasspiritfoundation.org/
Trees for Troops home page: http://www.christmasspiritfoundation.org/programs/trees4troops/home.htm
To find a participating tree farm near you: http://www.christmasspiritfoundation.org/programs/trees4troops/2010-trees-for-troops-location-list.pdf
Bustard's Christmas Tree Farm website: http://www.bustardschristmastrees.com/