Tonawanda News

The Town

December 25, 2013

A Christmas gift of light

Tonawanda News — A holiday tradition launched more than two decades ago by former Erie County Legislator Chuck Swanick took place again Tuesday, when hundreds of Christmas trees were handed out to those who were not able to afford them otherwise.

The gesture will ensure a bright holiday for dozens of area families who otherwise would be lacking some holiday cheer. 

With dozens of tree distributors in the region, several of them gave their leftover wares to the the cause, which has taken place since 1988, after Swanick said he talked to tree purveyor David Arida, of the Arida Tree Farm, who is now deceased, but whose relatives are still involved in the effort. 

“I went over to his place at Anderson’s ice cream where he used to sell trees in the winter,” Swanick said. “I said, ‘instead of mulching trees why don’t we give them away to the needy?’ It made no sense to anybody to just mulch the trees if there’s people out there who can’t afford a tree because they’re having a tough time.”

On Monday night, about 400 trees were brought in to Tonawanda from several distributors who would have sent their leftover trees to be mulched. 

Instead, on Tuesday, hundreds of individuals and families steadily strolled by the Phillip Sheridan School on Elmwood Avenue to get a Christmas tree. 

John Drewiega, a Lovejoy resident who recently lost his job, said he was on his second trip to the school. Each round he picked up four trees for “women in my neighborhood” who did not have a Christmas tree. 

“Because I’m unemployed I’m using my spare time to do this,” he said. “The people in my neighborhood appreciate it. I believe in being thoughtful.”  

A man name Romeo, who lives near Erie County Medical Center, said he’s spent many Christmases prior without a tree and was grateful for the gesture.

Text Only
The Town
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage