Tonawanda News — “It’s a blessing to get one for free,” he said. “I haven’t had one since I was a child.”
Swanick, who represented portions of Tonawanda during his 26-year tenure in the legislature, which ended in 2006, said that just because the trees are free doesn’t mean there’s a lack of choice, with varieties of all kinds and sizes available. He also noted that with the lingering effects of a recession those from all walks of life can struggle.
“You can tell by the type of car they pull up in,” Swanick said, of the more affluent who may now being going through hard times.
A group of about 10 volunteers trimmed the trees and helped those who arrived to select a tree and load it up into their respective vehicles. Swanick noted that the experience is particularly moving when it comes to children.
“It’s a very good feeling to have the kids come out of the car, wide-eyed,” he said. “And that’s what it’s all about. Christmas is a time of giving and it’s a time to remember. We’re just trying to make sure that happens for more people.”
Swanick added that some families or individuals choose to visit the spot later in the evening. The trees will be left at the school.
The efforts is also supported by the Tonawanda Town Highway Department, according to Superintendent Bill Swanson, who said his department will mulch any trees not given away.
“The town is happy to support this event every year,” he said. “Everyone should be able to have a Christmas tree.”