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Trees for Troops, a partnership among the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the National Christmas Tree Association and FedEx, will deliver more than 17,000 trees at 62 U.S. military bases in 2012. Most trees will go to military families at U.S. bases representing every branch of the armed services.

TREES-FOR-TROOPS1212-XMAS-TSoldiers form a bucket brigade to unload Christmas trees donated to military families on a U.S. military base through the Trees for Troops program in this 2011 photo.Using trees donated by growers, cash contributions, and trees purchased and donated by consumers, and all delivered free by FedEx, Trees for Troops has provided more than 103,000 trees in seven years, according to a news release.

The 2012 operation began Nov. 20, when 300 trees donated by members of the Indiana Christmas Tree Association were picked up by FedEx at Dull’s Tree Farm in Thorntown, IN, for airlift to U.S. troops at two bases in Kuwait and at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Thorntown school children helped organize, pack and load the trees for shipment.

Consumers donated by purchasing trees at one of the 30 farms and retail lots across the country participating in Trees for Troops Weekend this year. Each of these locations had a FedEx trailer at their farm or lot so donated trees could be delivered to a military family at one of the participating bases the following week.

The foundation, affiliated with the National Christmas Tree Association, also sells commemorative Christmas tree ornaments that can be donated to military families.

Trees for Troops had its beginnings in the 1990s, when some growers organized efforts to give Christmas trees to National Guard units and other military personnel who were deployed in peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo and other regions of the world.