Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today deployed senior members of his administration to help distribute 400 free Christmas trees to residents in communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
Members of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York (CTFANY), which represents approximately 400 of New York State’s 850 tree growers, made the tree donations. In the wake of the devastation caused by Sandy in the tri-state area, CTFANY members mobilized to donate free trees to storm victims. The donated fir, pine and spruce trees retail at approximately $50 apiece.
Working with community and civic organizations, volunteer Fire Departments, and a local labor union, the Governor’s office spearheaded efforts to transport and distribute the trees to communities with the greatest need.
“Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across downstate New York, and for many families the costs incurred by the storm have taken a major toll on their holiday season budgets," Governor Cuomo said. "With distributing a few hundred Christmas trees, we are helping some of the many affected families have some holiday cheer after these difficult weeks in Sandy's aftermath. In times of hardship, New Yorkers are always the first to lend their neighbors a helping hand, and I thank the Christmas tree farmers for their generous donation."
“New York’s Christmas tree farmers are happy to be helping their downstate neighbors,” said Mary Jeanne Packer, the Executive Director of the Christmas tree farmers group. “Our members wanted to help people get some little bit of brightness back into their lives following the horrible losses they experienced in the storm. Nothing says Christmas like a real tree,” Packer said.
Ned Chapman, owner of Sunnyside Gardens in Saratoga Springs was one of the Christmas tree farmers who contributed trees to the relief effort. Chapman was on-hand at the distribution site on Staten Island Wednesday. He said, “After all that these folks have been through, getting some real trees down here for them to enjoy was the least we could do.”
The trees came from over 25 upstate Christmas tree farms in the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Newburgh areas. The trees were cut farm fresh last weekend and then loaded onto a 53-foot tractor trailer on Monday and Tuesday, which arrived on Long Island as day broke on Wednesday. The trees were delivered throughout the day to locations in Suffolk County, Nassau County, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 138 assisted in distributing trees to Suffolk County. Trees arrived at these sites Wednesday morning. The following two are open to the press:
11:00 AM Commissioner Arlene Gonzlez-Snchez, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Joins Local Officials to Deliver Christmas Trees to Residents Affected By Hurricane Sandy
East Rockaway, New York
1:45 PM Empire State Development President & CEO Kenneth Adams Joins Local Officials to Deliver Christmas Trees to Residents Affected By Hurricane Sandy
Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation
2271 Hylan Blvd