Christmas

Donated Christmas trees kick off the holidays for Halifax charity

Government officials donate balsam firs to four Halifax charities in annual ceremony

Tammy Turple (right) receives a Christmas tree from Deputy Premier Karen Casey.   Michelle Cuthbert

Four Halifax charities received Christmas trees from government officials on Tuesday, as part of a 10-year tradition. One of those charities was the Home of the Guardian Angel, which operates as the Chebucto Family Centre.

The balsam firs were donated to the Department of Natural Resources by the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association. They were distributed to representatives of charities of each official’s choosing during a ceremony in front of Province House.

The Chebucto Family Centre’s tree was donated by premier Stephen McNeil, who was represented at the ceremony by Deputy Premier Karen Casey. The tree was received by executive director of the centre, Tammy Turple.

“It kind of kicks off the season for us,” said Turple. “A lot of our programs and events will surround the tree.”

The Chebucto Family Centre provides family services to members of the Spryfield community. Programs include prenatal and parenting classes, daycare services and a volunteer doula program.

They plan to do baking and craft workshops for the holiday season and the doula program will have a Christmas party in the program room, where the tree will be displayed.

“It’s really homey, and has that feel, so we’re really lucky to have the tree placed in that room,” said Turple.

To begin the festivities, the centre will have their annual Christmas tree decorating party on Wednesday as part of their Girl Talk conversation group.

“We’re going to get the children involved and the whole community,” said Turple. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

Most of the Chebucto Family Centre’s programming around the holiday season focuses on helping families through the financial difficulties associated with this time of year. They have a program which helps families secure daily essentials like food and other basic needs.

The centre also has a partnership with the Halifax Shoebox Project, which distributes shoeboxes full of daily essentials and other items to women at risk of homelessness.

Turple said the tree will be appreciated at the centre.

“I think it’s home,” said Turple. “It’s a place of community; it’s a place to feel safe and to feel comfortable.”

Three other trees were also donated at the ceremony:

  • Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc chose to donate his tree to the Camp Hill Veterans Hospital in Halifax.
  • Natural Resources Minister Margaret Miller gifted hers to Easter Seals Nova Scotia, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities based in Halifax.
  • Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell gave his tree to Margaret’s House, a soup kitchen in Dartmouth.