Lester Park Students Bring Christmas To Essentia Patients

This year they raised about $2,500 and gave away 58 trees.

DULUTH, Minn. – The Giving Tree project began as a small gesture and now has spiraled into a 17 year holiday tradition.

Second through fourth grade students walked the halls of St. Mary’s to deliver trees to patients.

The Christmas trees were beautifully decorated by the students with ornaments and trinkets.

At the age seven Robbie Baker was inspired to help others, which eventually flourished into the Giving Tree project.

Robbie’s younger brother was in the hospital during the holidays after an accident left him with severe burns.

After seeing his brother first hand, Robbie wondered what it was like for other families to spend the holidays in the hospital.

Now nearly two decades later, he still gets joy out of spreading the Christmas spirit.

“This is the season of giving. It’s also a time when you want to feel loved and appreciated especially,” said Robbie Baker. “I love walking into the room watching their faces light up when they get a tree I feel like lots of them don’t expect it. I’m sure none of them do. It’s just a little reminder that they aren’t alone.”

Brendan Baker, Robbie’s younger brother, says he appreciates these young students taking pride in giving away Christmas trees.

He hopes his family’s story will continue to inspire them to give back.

“It’s just kind of amazing how young kids can actually see that and process how life actually works,” said Brendan Baker. “We might not know who these people are, but we want to make them happy. It’s just great to give back.”

Over the last two decades, this project touched the lives of hundreds of essentia patients.

To make this year’s project happen students held fundraisers throughout the school year to purchase the trees.

This year they raised about $2,500 and gave away 58 trees.

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