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Food pantry benefits from tree sales

Ron and Beverly Frenkiewich, right, watch as a woman prepares to take a Christmas tree home she just bought at their home on Route 117 in Sugar Hill. The Frankiewichs are raising money for a Franconia food pantry selling Christmas trees. Art McGrath.
December 23, 2009
SUGAR HILL–In keeping with the Christmas spirit, a Sugar Hill couple is selling Christmas trees on their property, donating the money to a local food shelf and hope their example will inspire others to do the same.

Over 20 years ago Ron Frenkiewich was diagnosed with leukemia. At the time he and his wife Beverly were living in Bethlehem and running Apple Hill Campground on Route 142, which they no longer were able to do after he got sick. They moved to a smaller house, an old farmhouse on Route 117 in Sugar Hill. After a bone marrow transplant, Ron began planting fir and spruce trees as part of his recovery program.

"It was a therapeutic thing for Ron to do while recovering, to plant them and watch them grow," Beverly said.

This was over 10 years and over 250 planted trees ago. Now the Frenkiewichs are finding their two acre lot getting very crowded with trees and came up with the idea of selling trees and donating the money to the Franconia Community Church Food Pantry, which serves Franconia, Sugar Hill and other surrounding towns.

"There's such a dire need in Franconia and the surrounding area," Beverly said.

This is not the first fundraiser the Frenkiewichs have been involved with. They are members of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church parish and were instrumental in establishing that church's annual yard sale, the proceeds of which go to the food pantry.

They saw the need was great, especially this year, a need that only gets worse in the winter, so they began thinking of ways to raise money during the winter and hit upon their trees, which were ready to be harvested. While in the past they had cut some down for Christmas trees and let other people cut some down—not to mention deer in the back of their property which tend to feed on some—they never thought of selling the trees until this year.

They're selling the trees for $25 each, with all the money going to the food pantry. So far they've sold seven, with several more pledged. They hope to sell a few more before Christmas. They did not advertise the program except through their church bulletin and the newsletter at Lafayette Regional School, where Beverly works as a kindergarten teacher.

Either way, they now have a good method to raise money for the food pantry and are already looking ahead to next year when they might advertise and try to raise awareness of the importance of donating to a food shelf.

Beverly said that with those trees being cut down, Ron is already planning on planting more.

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