KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For nearly 140 years, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Kansas City has been doing more than lighting up the holidays.
Since 1878, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund has made the holidays a little more merry for kids and families in need. But the program could use your help to spread some cheer this season.
“We’re very proud of the work that we do, and it’s all thanks to the charitable giving from the community all around in Kansas City,” said Juan Sarmiento, a spokesperson with the office of Mayor Sly James.
The program supplies gift cards to families and buys toys for kids who might otherwise go without. Many kids at Emmanuel Center came close to not having a Christmas last year.
“I mean these children are like family to us," said Deborah Mann, Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center executive director. "When they come here, it’s like we’re all one big family. So we want to make sure they’re taken care of."
A clerical error meant the center didn’t get help from another charity, but the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund stepped in to help.
“You know you hear a lot of things that people say that are doing for the community, but I know from first-hand experience that the Mayor’s Christmas Fund helps people," Mann said. "So I would encourage people — if you can give, give to the Mayor’s Christmas Fund because they do put the money where their mouth is."
But with so many organizations setting out to do good during the holidays, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund has seen a slump in donations.
In two of the last five years, it didn’t get enough donations to cover costs. So this year, it’s teaming up with local t-shirt company Charlie Hustle with “Stay Frosty” shirts. For every shirt sold, the company will donate $10 to the fund.
“Charlie Hustle’s always trying to do things within the community to help out and they’ve been a great hit," said Sara Wells with Charlie Hustle. "We’ve got our signature bus on there and try to keep it fun, but it’s also for a good cause."
If you’re looking for another unique way to give back, you can purchase a wooden ornament. They are made from the bark of the previous year’s Christmas tree. The 2017 ornaments go on sale on Black Friday for $13.95. All the proceeds from the ornament sales go back to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.
You can also make a pledge online.