Secret Santa gives trees to Mohawk families

  • Mohawk Special Education teacher Lynn Wells, left, helps a student hang a sign on Friday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The Mary Lyon Foundation is sponsoring a free warm clothing and Christmas Tree pick up at their location at the Mohawk Trail Regional School. Mohawk student Casey is helped by Mary Lyon Foundation Volunteer Sandy Gilbert hang gloves on a tree. December 1, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz...

  • The Mary Lyon Foundation is sponsoring a free warm clothing and Christmas Tree pickup at their location at the Mohawk Trail Regional School. Above, Mohawk students help hang up decorations around the display on Friday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Friday, December 01, 2017

BUCKLAND — Christmas came early for 18 to 20 low-income families who are receiving free, live Christmas trees this weekend through an anonymous grower and the Mary Lyon Education Foundation.

The freshly cut trees arrived Friday morning, as students from the Mohawk Trail Regional School’s Vocational Program decorated the trees with paper snowflakes and snowmen. They also hung up winter hats, scarves and mittens on a wire fence behind the trees, which the families coming for Christmas trees are free to take.

According to Sue Samoriski, co-executive director of the Mary Lyon Foundation, at least 100 to 125 balsam fir trees were planted many years ago by a local man, who has been giving away several trees each year to Mohawk families, for several years.

“He’s not a commercial grower,” Samoriski said of the anonymous donor. “He had the land, and planted these trees to give away. He just planted them out of the goodness of his heart, and we are eternally grateful for his contribution.”

Samoriski said the colorful winter accessories were donated by the Betty Allen DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Chapter out of Northampton. “They did this on their own,” she said. “This is the first time they have donated to this. We had a meeting Tuesday, and they showed up with bags of clothing.”

“This is my very first, live Christmas tree,” said Samantha Brooks of Charlemont, a single mom with three children. “I picked it out myself. You just can’t get that pine scent from any candle, or anything like that.

“I’m going to bring it home and un-decorate the plastic one I just put up.”

“It lifts your spirits,” said Geraldine King, also of Charlemont. “Instead of buying a tree, I will have more money for presents. I have a 5-year-old great-grandson who lives with me.”