CHESTER, Va. (WRIC) — After the first week of December, Enon Church of God in Chester had about a dozen trees remaining out of the original 175 in stock. That’s when someone purchased all the trees in the lot and left them there for others to take.
“We had about 10 to 12 trees left, good trees, and one of the people within our church came to me and said, ‘I want to take care of the rest of the trees, and let’s bless other families,'” Enon Church of God Lead Pastor Bryan Ogle said. “They were paid for and we just put it out on social media that the trees were free, and within two days, they were all gone.”
By Dec. 9, there was an empty lot at the church. Pastor Bryan says that’s the earliest they’ve sold out, and, even amid the coronavirus pandemic, there were more customers looking for trees than in years past.
“People want to have some good feelings to end 2020,” Pastor Bryan said. “It’s been a rough year for everybody, so a great way is to have a live tree and celebrate Christmas early.”
Enon Church of God is also the only BUY A TREE. CHANGE A LIFE. partner in the state of Virginia, making the purchase of more than 100 trees in Chester an even more impactful end 2020 on a positive note.
“There are 47 sites across the U.S. this year,” Pastor Bryan said. “All the proceeds go to help children globally and locally. There’s an orphanage in Cambodia that we help, but also here locally, the proceeds help with schools and supplies.”
Since 2012, BUY A TREE. CHANGE A LIFE. has raised $2,747,034, according to the organization’s website. That does not yet include the funds from 2020.
This season, Pastor Bryan says residents came to purchase trees not just for themselves, but for others, as well.
“Those who don’t like live trees and have an artificial [tree], they’ll buy a tree for somebody else,” he said. “People have really enjoyed knowing that their purchase goes to help other people. It’s not just having a tree at Christmas; it really is helping other families, and kids especially, throughout the year. They love doing that part.”
“A few years ago, we got connected with them about supplying Christmas trees free to the military families, and we have people donate from the church and just coming off the streets and buying Christmas trees for Fort Lee families,” Pastor Bryan said. “We did about 20 trees this year.”
The church gets its frasier firs from North Carolina. Pastor Bryan says they plan to have approximately 175 evergreens in stock again next year.