Pacovsky and 27 other Iowa Christmas tree farms are participating in the national Trees for the Troops campaign by providing free trees to military personnel serving across the country and overseas.
Trees for the Troops is coordinated by the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the charitable branch of the National Christmas Tree Association.
Since its launch in 2005, Trees for the Troops has delivered Christmas trees to more than 66,000 military families at more than 50 bases across the United States and overseas.
Last year, more than 16,500 farm-grown Christmas trees were sent to all branches of the military, including 300 trees shipped to troops in the Middle East. The trees were provided by more than 800 Christmas tree growers and retailers in 29 states.
This year, Iowa Christmas tree growers have donated more than 80 trees to the effort. Participating farms delivered the trees to Des Moines for a send-off event Nov. 30 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Trees for the Troops corporate sponsor FedEx picks up the trees and delivers them for free to military families.
The Iowa-grown Christmas trees are expected to end up at the Rock Island Arsenal, across the river from Davenport, where families on the military base can pick out a tree to take home, Pacovsky says.
Trees for the Troops also provides Christmas ornaments and lights for the families who move from base to base and don’t keep their own decorations.
Iowa Christmas tree growers have received praise from their customers for supporting the troops during the holiday season, when it can be tough to be away from home and family.
“We’ve had people come out and say, ‘We’ve heard that you donate trees for the troops, and we’ve put away our artificial tree and we are coming out to support you because you support our servicemen and women,” Pacovsky says.
This year, several Iowa Christmas tree farms are also donating trees to local military families who have a spouse or parent stationed overseas during the holiday season, Pacovsky notes.
Participating Iowa Christmas tree farms are offering a donation box for customers who want to make a financial contribution to Trees for the Troops.