NEWS file photo

NEWS file photo

Red Deer firefighters will pick up Christmas trees starting Jan. 8

They may ask for a donation in return

Leave your Christmas trees on the front lawn starting Jan. 8, and Red Deer firefighters will pick them up.

In return, they may knock on your door or leave an envelope in your mailbox requesting a donation to go towards the Red Deer Firefighters Children’s Charity.

Dan Henschel, Red Deer Firefighters Children’s Charity president, asks residents to leave their natural Christmas trees, free of any decorations or ornaments, visible on front lawns.

The trees shouldn’t be in bags. He said not to leave the trees in the back, or in the alleys, otherwise they won’t get picked up.

The Christmas tree pick up will continue until Jan. 22.

The program is run voluntarily by the city firefighters, but it’s not part of the City of Red Deer, said Henschel.

In the past, the firefighters have raised about $4,000 to $5,000 by picking up trees. The money received stays in the city, said Henschel.

The money has been used for Red Deer and District Food Bank, Women’s Outreach and Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District, among other causes.

As part of the program, the city gets split into four quadrants. The two-week window allows firefighters to hit each quadrant, going out to every neighbourhood.

On Wednesday, Henschel said firefighters haven’t figured out an exact schedule yet, but it will be posted on Red Deer firefighter Facebook page as firefighters start the pick ups.

“So if everybody leaves their trees in the front starting on (Jan.) 8, it’ll get picked up,” he said.

Henschel said it takes about five to six hours to complete each quarter of the city with about 40 volunteer firefighters per day.

The Christmas tree pick up numbers have been going down since the program first started as more and more people are opting for artificial trees, said Henschel.

“We’re still keeping it going, but it doesn’t make as much money as it used to,” he said.

The trees picked up are turned over to City of Red Deer’s Recreation, Parks and Culture department to be turned into mulch.