Hobe Sound Farms gives away free Christmas trees in hopes of helping families in need

Posted at 11:33 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 23:33:47-05

HOBE SOUND, Fla. — It’s that time of year when Christmas trees start going up around town and inside homes- but not in every home.

For some people, it’s simply too expensive, and a tradition that families are forced to go without.

That’s why Hobe Sound Farms is turning its own Christmas tree turmoil into a blessing for hundreds of families.

For a little more than a year, Beth Leonard, Farm Manager at Hobe Sound Farms, has been working to make the property a place where families can make memories, like picking out a Christmas tree.

“It’s been fun. Crazy, but fun,” Leonard laughed.

Last year, selling Christmas trees was a success for the new farm, and Leonard had bigger hopes from their supplier for this season

“This year, we really challenged him to kind of bring little trees and giant trees that we knew the community was asking for,” Leonard said.

Nearly 1,000 trees were delivered, but Leonard wasn’t seeing what she had hoped for.

“As we set them up you could notice a few discolorations. You can see throughout the trees there’s just oddities,” Leonard said.

The more trees they set up, the more they realized they didn’t look healthy.

“Certain parts of them look normal and certain don’t,” Leonard said.

She says they sold about 100 trees, but then started to worry about selling more.

“Don’t want them to go home and die and then somebody doesn’t have a tree for Christmas morning,” Leonard said.

So, they decided to stop selling the trees and give them away for free.

“If people can use them and they’re going to bless someone then great, let’s do that,” Leonard said.

That decision revealed a need in the community that was bigger than she expected.

“We’ve had some people who told us they’ve never had a tree before. That for me has been the silver lining,” Leonard said. She says some children have been able to pick out a tree for the first time. She says she understands the hardships some families face during the holidays.

“$100 for a Christmas tree is just one of those things that whew, if we do this, what are we going without?” Leonard said.

Now, she’s down to just a couple hundred trees left.

It’s a loss for the new, growing farm, but one they’re willing to take as they’re still reaching their goal of giving families memories, and a tradition they can count on being able to continue.

The Hobe Sound Farm will have Santa at their property Saturday during the Hobe Sound Farmer’s Market. Leonard expects they will be able to give away most of the trees by then, limiting them to one per family and hoping to save them for families who are truly in need.