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Nonprofit in Billings is selling live Christmas trees to raise funds for program expenses



Billings, Montana – Selling Christmas trees will raise money for a local Billings nonprofit’s program.

Adult and Teen Challenge is a “comprehensive recovery program…designed to help those struggling with addiction and life-controlling issues become healthy and whole in all areas of life,” their website states.

The program targets individuals who struggle with addiction and aims to help the individual achieve sobriety and create “a safe space for them to encounter God,” according to their website.

Thanks to program donations, participants who lack the necessary money or insurance can still take part in the program.

“Adult and Teen Challenge is a faith-based recovery program for men and women that suffer from addiction. We don’t turn anyone down due to inability to pay, or lack of insurance,” explains Chris Greer, who works as the outreach coordinator for the Adult and Teen Challenge Billings campus.

However, Greer has a unique relationship with the charity because he through the program to achieve sobriety. He now works to assist others who share the same objective.

The nonprofit has developed a few original methods of fundraising for program and housing expenses.

“We do a couple of other fundraisers throughout the year. We do a gala, we do a bowl-a-thon, but ‘Trees for Hope’ is the biggest for this time of the year that we do,” Greer explains.

In order to support the program, the nonprofit imports Christmas trees from Oregon and sells them in Billings around the holiday season. The occasion, which goes by the name “Trees for Hope,” lasts for a number of weeks in November and December.

“Trees for Hope” is currently in its third year. It has expanded to two lots instead of the previous single lot from years past, due to its high success rate.

“The students help out at the lots, they spend their time working here so they can give back to the ministry. It helps pay the overhead, room, board, classes, things like that,” Greer explains. “This is definitely a big help.”

On Sunday, MTN News went to a few nearby Billings retailers to check out their selection of trees. A few live-cut trees and numerous artificial trees with prices ranging from $30 to more than $600 are available for purchase at the stores. Fresh-cut, live trees can be purchased from “Trees for Hope” for prices ranging from $34 to 178, depending on size and variety.

Residents of Billings who came to the lots on Sunday tell MTN News they are pleased to support a worthy cause and their neighborhood.

“We decided to come out and buy a Christmas tree this year, and Teen Challenge is an organization that has really helped out a few friends of ours,” explains Hollee Miller, a “Trees for Hope” customer. “We just thought it would be cool to kind of give back and support this organization.”

Miller claims that two of her friends have completed the program successfully and she is happy to have the chance to lend a hand.

Another client, Sarah Kamenicky, who recently relocated to Billings from Alaska, says this is her and her husband’s first Christmas in the city.

“We go to church at Faith Chapel, and we just got out of church and saw there were Christmas trees, and we commonly get a live Christmas tree,” Kamenicky explains.

Two places have been put up by the program to sell trees. One is located at PAR on 2335 Lewis Ave., while the other is at Faith Chapel in Billings at 517 Shiloh Rd.

The lots are open seven days a week from 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, 12 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and 10 to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

It started on November 25 and will end on December 23.

“We’re not just selling Christmas trees here, we’re putting hope within reach of an addict somewhere,” Greer explains. “This is a great opportunity to get out into your community, get a Christmas tree, and make a change in your community for the better.”