Growing up, Ron Ebling always had a Christmas tree and presents during the holidays. While he said he was lucky for that luxury, he knows others aren’t so fortunate.
As a way to spread holiday cheer, Ebling decided to collect Christmas trees, ornaments, lights, and other decorations that he will give to families, group foster homes, wounded veterans and homeless shelters.
Ebling said his plan to help people during the Christmas season started back in October.
“I wanted to do something different,” he said. “There are already organizations and individuals who collect gifts, coats and food for families in need, so I went a different direction.”
As he was preparing to decorate for the holidays he realized he had an extra Christmas tree in the attic that had been sitting unused for years.
“I started thinking about people who may not have something as simple as a Christmas tree and decided I wanted to find a family to give my extra tree to,” he said. “Then I thought, if I have an old tree laying in the attic, how many other trees are just sitting in someone’s storage area not being used?”
Ebling created a Facebook event and invited all of his friends, asking who had extra trees, ornaments, lights or Christmas decorations that they would be willing to donate.
“The response was overwhelming,” he said. “I knew fairly quickly my husband and I were going to need help.”
So he met with his coworkers in the risk management department of Independence Bank and presented the Christmas tree project to them as an option for their December Buzz project.
Each department throughout Independence Bank has their own Buzz group that comes up with ideas during the year on ways to give back to the community.
For more than a month, Ebling has collected donations and currently he has more than 40 Christmas trees and several boxes of lights, ornaments and other decorations.
“My garage is so full we’ve had to park the cars in the driveway,” he said.
Ebling said he is working with organizations around town such as United Way, Girls Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of America, Goodfellows Club, the Housing Authority of Owensboro and local school systems to help find families that don’t have a Christmas tree.
Each family can get a Christmas tree, a set of ornaments and other decorations from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at Living Hope Community Church at 1709 Alexander Avenue.
Ebling said, with the help of some friends and family, he will be at the church early to put together the Christmas trees so people can see how big they are before taking them home.
“We will also have hot cocoa and Christmas cookies for everyone,” he said. “We also will have trucks on site to deliver the trees if they don’t fit in the families vehicle.”
Due to the overwhelming response from the community and the number of donations collected, Ebling is opening the event to everyone.
“If you are in need of a Christmas tree, for whatever reason, you’re welcome to come while they last,” he said.
Ebling will continue collecting trees and decorations every day this week until Sunday.