The Kaufman Fund, a local 501[c] non-profit organization, is gearing up for its fifth annual Trees for Vets project to help provide veterans in need across the St. Louis area with a free Christmas tree and stand to help families celebrate the holiday season.
The event is put on by The Kaufman Fund, a local nonprofit headquartered in Creve Coeur that has worked with veterans’ and children’s organizations across St. Louis and the state of Missouri since 1990. In addition to the Trees for Vets program, the organization offers other year-round support to local veterans and at-risk children coping with abuse and poverty. The organization also provides services such as accessing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] therapy, assisting with honor flights to Washington, D.C. and securing housing opportunities for veterans. The nonprofit has raised about $1 million for local charities in the past 20 years.
In 2017, over 325 trees were donated to the Trees for Vets program.
In 2018, the organization intends to give away about 350-400 trees to veterans and veterans organizations in surrounding areas. Overall, the Kaufman Fund has provided about 1,400 trees through the program. The trees and stands are free of charge to all participating veterans. The event will be held from noon-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9 at a location only disclosed to participating veterans and their families.
The event will also feature appearances by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and appearances by multiple vendors that will offer free coffee, hot chocolate, pretzels, Bundt cakes and more. Official therapy dogs will also be on site for children and adults.
“We like to make it a really nice, family affair,” Al Finkelstein, board member of The Kaufman Fund, said.
The Kaufman Fund also works with local entities like the St. Patrick Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis, United Service Organizations, Catholic Charities, various reserve units and more to obtain the names of veterans to receive trees. Veterans selected to receive a tree through the program will receive a confirmation email November advising with a tree pick-up time and location.
“So far, we haven’t had to turn a veteran away,” Finkelstein said.
Veterans interested in applying for a free tree should send their send their name, email and phone number to Finkelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the organization or how to donate, visit thekaufmanfund.org.