This is Charity with a big heart. Following in the tradition of Christmas Tree Schooners bringing pine trees from the North end of Lake Michigan to Chicago, a group in Chicago coordinates a pretty large effort to bring pine trees, by ship, to Navy Pier and distribute them to the poor each year.
To learn more about this tradition, read the "Christmas Tree Schooner" article.
Volunteers at the Chicago's Christmas Ship Committee buys the 1,300 trees from the north end of Michigan and they are loaded on the USCG Ice Breaker Mackinaw in Charlevoix, MI. As the USCG Ice Breaker doubles as a buoy tender, the purpose of their mission to Chicago is to remove buoys for the winter from Lake Michigan and drop them off at Burns Harbor, IN. On the way back North they'll remove any they missed. Delivering the trees is an extra, something the U.S. Coastguardsmen look forward to do each year.
The preparations all pay off when the USCG Cutter Mackinaw arrives at Navy Pier on December 6, 2013, decked out in holiday lights. A number of youth organization volunteers are invited on board the Columbia Yacht Club ship 'Abegweit' nearby and do a sleepover.
In the morning on December 7, 2013 the youth volunteers receive a hearty breakfast, dress up for weather and head to the Christmas Tree Ship. Starting at 10 AM, They offload the 1,300 trees by hand to awaiting trucks for distribution to the poor.
Just take a moment to imagine those who are struggling to get by, and suddenly have a Christmas tree in their home. They gather around as a family unit and share the Christmas spirit. This adds a very special touch for a select group of citizens.
If you think this is really cool, make a contribution to assures its continuance.
Sailors and powerboaters get together to make this happen, once you start sailing, you'll find a lot of cool people and get invited to join their passions.
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