Spreading holiday cheer: 500 Christmas trees given to hurricane victims
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many in the Cape Fear are in a different home or still without one for the holidays due to Hurricane Florence. The Cape Fear Salvation Army is stepping in to help them stay in the holiday spirit.
Along with The King of Christmas, the Salvation Army gave away around 500 Christmas trees to families impacted by the storm.
“I expected a nice tree and that’s what we got plus a lot more and a lot of smiling faces and a lot of happy people saying Merry Christmas,” said Tammy Hughes who traveled down from Castle Hayne to get a tree.
Hughes lost her Burgaw home in the storm. Stories similar to hers make this holiday season a hard one for happiness in many homes.
“I lost my Dad in May, I lost my house in September and I just recently lost my job so yeah it’s been a long year for me,” said Hughes.
She now lives with her mother and they are together Wednesday getting a tree and surprisingly food and essentials that will help them throught the week.
“You know you lose things and they’re just things. You think more about your family,” said Hughes.
That feeling of family is exactly what the Salvation Army of the Cape Fear is aiming to restore this holiday.
“Part of getting back on our feet and moving forward from the storm is putting our family traditions back together,” Salvation Army Maj. Mark Craddock said. “It’s those things that are familiar to us. Christmas trees are familiar to us. There are those things that make home, home. And so that’s what we’re helping these families do.”
The artificial tree maker, King of Christmas, came to the area specifically to spread holiday cheer.
“Really seeing what a Christmas tree is for some of these families is incredible,” said Seth Tayler with the Pennsylvania based company.
Tayler says the donations started last Christmas post Hurricane Harvey in Texas. This year the company had their giving spirit set on the Cape Fear.
“Seeing after what they went through now to have something to look forward to, to have the family around and build traditions, it’s huge,” Tayler said.
The Salvation Army was not only able to give out trees but also gave out left over food and supplies from their feeding efforts after Florence.
The need is large this holiday season. You can still help the Salvation Army give Christmas to a child this year.
They have around 150 angels still on their angel tree looking for a Christmas gift. 3,000 gifts have already been pledged.