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Giving Trees in Elkhart provide warmth to those in need

Giving Tree// WSBT 22 Ed Ernstes

Some special holiday trees have been recently spotted around Elkhart.

They're not just Christmas Trees-- they're known as "Giving Trees" where the less-fortunate can find help to keep warm outdoors.

One of the "Giving' Trees can be found in the 400 block of East Jackson

It’s the third year this one has gone up with the help of Kris Peterson and Granger Community Church.

The first year, group members sewed clothing which they hung on the tree for anyone in need to take.

The effort has grown with the help of the Elkhart County Extension Homemakers and friends of the Elkhart Bicycle Shop.

This year they've loaded the tree with 681 items so far.

“They include boots, hats, mittens gloves, scarves, some blankets long underwear, flannel shirts and thing that's been donated or that we make, that is going to keep people warm,” said Organizer Kris Peterson.

As it turns out, that Giving Tree downtown served an inspiration for a similar project at Mary Daly School, a school staffer saw it and thought it would be a good project for students.

Students and staff either bought new warm clothing or donated gently used items to put on their Giving Tree.

Anyone can take the clothing, including students.

Erin Schock, the social worker who came up with the idea, says students are learning the value of giving.

"I was actually pleasantly surprised how they naturally, want to give and wanted to help, and how good they felt during the project,” said Schrock.

“The Giving Tree is helping out the moms and dads that doesn't know how, that doesn't have enough money to, hats, and gloves and scarves boots for the kids,” said fourth grader, Monico Perez.

Organizers plan to continue putting items up through the end of January.

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