MOUNT VERNON — There’s often something special that touches the heart each year during the Christmas season. And that special touch is alive and well in Knox County.
For six years now, Carolyn Thompson has been delivering her personalized Christmas trees to nearly every resident in the county nursing homes. Each year, Thompson puts together Christmas trees of various sizes, anywhere from 6 inches up to 4 feet tall. The trees are decorated with ornaments and are mounted on a board which may be adorned with Santa Claus, packages or a Christmas village to make its own little scene. Thompson puts a tag on each of the trees and calls her mission “Christmas At Heart.”
Money for the trees comes out of Thompson’s own pocket. She declines monetary donations for her project; but if anybody sees any small tree or ornament they would like to give toward the project, she would consider that as a donation.
The idea began with Thompson’s mother, who at one time was a resident of The Laurels. She would be the first recipient each year when the trees were passed out. Her mother passed away in February. “She got her tree first at the cemetery on Thanksgiving Day. She was my reason and my inspiration for it,” said Thompson. “I saw people that nobody ever came to see,” she explained about her numerous trips to visit her mother.
In the first year, about 15 trees were delivered to residents at The Laurels. “I decided I wanted to take it farther and go into other nursing homes because I could see how happy it made them,” said Thompson. About 315 trees were delivered this year with some years reaching as high as 360. She has delivered a tree to every room at nearly every nursing home in Knox County this year. One facility informed her they have family members who already take care of this. Other trees this year were delivered to the New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter and to the Winter Sanctuary.
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