Pay-what-you-can Christmas trees

A program in Manistee is helping families struggling to make ends meet, deck the halls with low-cost Christmas trees.

The Manistee Community Kitchen understands that Christmas is a financially difficult time for many Manistee County residents. At this time of the year, rising heating and food costs put pressure on family budgets, leaving little room for much else, even a tree.

"In Manistee County, having Christmas Trees in our homes has long been a part of our culture," said Brandon Seng, President of the Manistee Community Kitchen. "Just behind Oregon, our region produces more of our country's Christmas Trees than anywhere else in the nation. We grow them in our backyard, and there is no reason a local family should go without a tree during the holidays."

For these reasons, the Kitchen will be offering Pay-what-you-can Christmas trees for sale this year in downtown Manistee. Families are encouraged to come down and pick up a beautiful Manistee-grown tree for any price that they can afford.

"In the past, we've sold trees for a dollar, or even traded some for cans of soup," explains Seng. "For us, it's all about creating opportunities for everyone to bring a tree home. No matter how many presents are under it, these Christmas Trees can create the smell and spirit that the holidays are all about."

The Community Christmas Tree Sale will take place Saturday. Dec. 8. at the Manistee Inn and Marina Parking Deck 378 River St. - Downtown Manistee. The tree sales will take place from 8am - 1pm.