Festive tree brightens Bend family's holidays

'Christmas Tree Project' brings joy to those in need

Bend group spreads Christmas joy

BEND, Ore. - It could be the merriest part of Christmas: finding that perfect tree and then transforming it into a masterpiece of lights and ornaments.

And for 6-year-old Lily Mumby of Bend, it doesn't take many words to describe her Christmas tree.

"It's pretty," she said on Tuesday.

As pretty as it looks now, until recently, the Mumby family's Christmas was looking pretty bleak.

"We were really worried about not having one (a Christmas tree) this year," said Scott Mumby. "We haven't been able to afford very many things."

Hard times for the Bend family of seven, which has to focus on a keeping roof over their head, instead of a tree, and food instead of gifts.

"Just a few months ago, we were staying at the Bethlehem Inn," Mumby said.

But then an unexpected gift came not too long ago; a beacon of lights, ornaments tinsel, and of course, an angel for the top.

But the real angel is the Christmas Tree Project of Bend.

It's a new group, with a mission not unlike Old St. Nick's: spreading Christmas cheer.

One tree at a time.

"Christmas isn't Christmas without a Christmas tree," project founder Lindsay Greco said. "And to think there are families who may not have that sparkle of Christmas in their homes, because of physical reasons, or economic reasons -- that's just not okay."

Greco officially launched the program this year. The inspiration came from a place dear to her heart.

She wanted to help those with ALS, (Lou Gehrig's disease), and others with physical disabilities after having lost her husband to ALS in February of this year.

Quickly, Greco realized she wanted to expand the Christmas Tree Project of Bend to anyone in need who might not have the means to get a tree.

And after all the tinsel, decorations and lights the Mumbys' tree glows in the family's front room.

"This is probably the best tree we've ever had," said 10-year-old Nicholas Mumby.

It's music to Greco's ears.

She said she only hopes they can keep up with the demand for trees for the needy or disabled throughout Central Oregon.

"We have  a good dozen trees circulating in right now, and probably three times that in inquiries and people asking for a tree to be donated to them," Greco said.

And she'll try to get to as many as possible, all for the joy of seeing more faces light up brighter than any Christmas tree.

"I'm very happy and thankful," Mumby said.  "Just to see them (his kids) so they're not down at Christmas time. They were happy, they were excited, because we probably weren't going to have one otherwise."

A cozy reminder the Christmas spirit of giving is always brightest of all.

If you'd like a Christmas tree from the project, For more information:

You can also drop off decorations and other items at B and B AutoWorks, 2163 S. Highway 97 in Redmond.

The project hopes to get enough supplies and volunteers to donate and decorate a few dozen more trees before Christmas.

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