‘It’s a happy time’: Hutton Settlement’s tree farm fundraiser is back and helping the children it serves

SPOKANE, Wash.– Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to start getting ready for Christmas. There’s no better way to do that than get your tree set up!

That’s why it was such a busy morning a the Hutton Settlement. People went out in droves Saturday to grab their trees from the organization that gives kids a safe home.

For more than 10 years the Hutton Settlement has sold Christmas trees to the community. The money that’s made goes back to its programs which help children without homes grow.

Roxanne is one of more than 30 children who live at the Hutton Settlement. She said she feels like she’s part of the community when she’s helping out in the Christmas tree fundraiser.

“A lot of kids come from different backgrounds and it’s nice to feel a part of something,” Roxanne said.

Parker has lived at the Hutton Settlement for the last three years. He’s been helping out at the tree fundraiser for a few years now.

“I like the Hutton Tree Farm. I think it’s a fun time. It’s a happy time, too,” Parker said.

Parker said it feels like the community supports the Hutton Settlement and will do anything for them. He said that gives all the other kids who live there an opportunity to grow.

Executive director Chud Wendle calls the kids who live there resilient.

“Just the type of character the kids have when they come to us. In a way, where they don’t trust the world but in situations like this, what’s happening, is they’re working with the world directly and they’re making an impact,” Wendle said.

Roxanne said she’s grateful for everything she has.

“Sometimes, I do take advantage of it a little bit. But, I take a step back and a moment to realize that everything I have here. I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t here. I think that’s pretty cool,” Roxanne said.

That impact happens at the tree sale year after year, and demand is growing for those trees.

Wendle says trees sold in eight days last year. He says they normally sell in three weeks.

“If we make it eight days this year, I think that would be a miracle,” Wendle said. “I’m predicting we’d come up on six or seven days before we sell out.”

Hutton Settlement grows some trees but also purchases them from a farm in Oregon. Wendle says they have been buying the same amount of trees for the last few years, however, prices are going up a bit because of the supply chain being strained. Extreme heat and wildfires are hurt farms over the summer.

Wendle says they’ve had to up the prices a bit, and added that they are “competitive” with the market right now. However, the difference between getting a tree from a big box store and the Hutton Settlement is that people will get an experience with kids who’ve put a lot of work into this fundraiser.

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