Mayor’s Christmas tree has helpful fate following holiday

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Christmas is over and many people are trying to dispose of their live Christmas tree. But one big tree has a different fate. The Mayor's Christmas tree at Crown Center is being recycled into something that will benefit local charities.

"It was me and the kids this year, we didn't celebrate or anything," said Karen Blackmon, a single mother of five.

Blackmon said the holidays are often tough for people that can't afford to celebrate.

"I try to do my best to help another child who doesn't have, even though I'm struggling myself," Blackmon added.

That's why the Kansas City, Mo.  Mayor Sly James, started a Christmas tree fund to help people like Blackmon.

"Each year I travel out to Oregon and pick out the Christmas tree that's going to sit on Crown Center Square," said Tina Luckett, Marketing Manager Entertainment for Crown Center.

Luckett said the KC mayor's 100-foot Christmas tree has stood on Crown Center Square since 1973, and the wood has been put tot good use since 1980.

"The tree represents the Mayor's Christmas tree fund, which helps our less fortunate in Kansas City celebrate the holidays," added Luckett.

"It's a great thing what the Mayor is doing," said Blackmon.

On Tuesday workers took down decorations to get the tree ready because the wood from last years tree is used to make ornaments for the upcoming year.

"They'll send it to western Kansas where it will be sanded and planed, and then it will be brought back to Hallmark, a Hallmark artist designs the ornament each year," said Luckett.

Every year the ornaments have a different Christmas theme, 2014's was the carousel horse.

"After the design is chosen, Hallmark creates the ornament and it's available for sale the day after Thanksgiving at Crown Center customer service," Luckett said.

The funds support local charities and help the less fortunate.

"It helps some elderly people have a nice holiday meal, it helps young children, the Kansas City Parks and Rec have parties at different community centers throughout the holiday season and it provides toys for young children who might not otherwise have a happy holiday experience," added Luckett.

Blackmon attended the holiday party that KCMO Parks and Rec put on in December with her children.

"A lot of kids look forward for Christmas, or just someone spending time with them, or getting them something," said Blackmon, "I think it's amazing that they would take time out to think about the less fortunate, because it's a lot of homeless people, a lot of homeless teenage kids that don't have."

The ornaments are available at customer service in Crown Center shops. The money raised over the holidays is given to the charities the following year. Other charities benefiting are Synergy House, Feed Northland Kids, Comm, ReStart Inc., Swope Health, and Ellis Care Community Outreach.

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