Brandon Guffey and Matt Helms thought they would sell Christmas trees this year to make a few extra dollars.
They sold some, sure. They advertised that for every tree sold they would donate $3 to a church of the buyer’s choice. But the lifelong friends found out the trees they gave away meant a lot more.
Kids, women, and families in shelters in Rock Hill and more now all have live Christmas trees so that Santa Claus will know where to leave gifts for all of them.
“We just wanted to find a way to give back to the community that is so good to us,” said Helms, who owns Palmetto Stump Removal. “We found it in Christmas trees.”
Guffey, owner of 360 Supply and 360 Lawn Care, said donating to families, kids, going through a hard time at the holidays is a way to make a difference in the lives of people who need others to look out for them.
“I have lived here all my life and this is the Rock Hill I am so proud of,” Guffey said. “A place where we all look out for each other. Every kid needs a Christmas tree. Everybody needs a tree that says ‘love’ and ‘Christmas.’”
The idea to donate started humbly and online, like so many good ideas these days. On Facebook, Guffey and Helms told another business owner who has a chicken wing restaurant that they would give the restaurant a tree if the wing joint brought them 50 wings on a cold Saturday at the tree lot on Mount Gallant Road. But everybody agreed that the only acceptable trade was finding a worthy place for the donated tree.
Better yet, trees.
Guffey found Pilgrims’ Inn that has a homeless shelter and transitional housing for women and children, The Haven men’s shelter, and Safe Passage, a shelter for women and children who are victims of abuse.
“We had asked around looking for trees for our clients, and out of the blue Brandon calls and offers anything we need,” said Emily Ward, volunteer coordinator at Pilgrims’ Inn. “He didn’t just offer. He came himself.”
Guffey didn’t just deliver one tree to Pilgrims’ Inn – he brought three. The shelter has a tree, and two of the units Pilgrims Inn runs for families in transition toward better lives have trees. All have kids in them. All now have a Christmas tree.
Other businesses and individuals who heard about it even offered donations to cover trees. The guys’ kids chipped in, even employees – it became a cause that has spread to other worthy recipients. The lot will keep on donating trees as long as they have trees.
Helms and Guffey know that they likely won’t make any money on trees this year.
“Doesn’t matter one bit,” Helms said of the money.
Guffey said something else matters more than money, and they just embraced it. They found Christmas. It was the trees.
Want to help?
To be a part of the donations, or if you know of a non-profit or charity that needs a Christmas tree, contact 360 Supply, 1933 Mount Gallant Road, Rock Hill, at 803-328-3360 or visit360.supply.