BILLINGS — A local Billings nonprofit is selling Christmas trees to raise money to help fund their program.
Adult and Teen Challenge is a "comprehensive recovery program...designed to help those struggling with addiction and life-controlling issues become healthy and whole in all areas of life," their website states.
The program targets individuals who struggle with addiction and aims to help the individual achieve sobriety and create "a safe space for them to encounter God," according to their website.
If a participant does not have the funds or insurance for the program, they are still able to participate thanks to program donations.
“Adult and Teen Challenge is a faith-based recovery program for men and women that suffer from addiction. We don’t turn anyone down due to inability to pay, or lack of insurance,” explains Chris Greer, who works as the outreach coordinator for the Adult and Teen Challenge Billings campus.
But Greer has a special connection to the nonprofit—after he went through the program to find sobriety. Now, he works to help others with the same goal.
The nonprofit has come up with a few creative ways to raise money for program and housing costs.
“We do a couple of other fundraisers throughout the year. We do a gala, we do a bowl-a-thon, but 'Trees for Hope' is the biggest for this time of the year that we do,” Greer explains.
The nonprofit purchases Christmas trees from Oregon and sells them in Billings around Christmas time to help fund the program. They have named the event "Trees for Hope," and it runs for several weeks in November and December.
"Trees for Hope" is currently in its third year. It has expanded to two lots instead of the previous single lot from years past, due to its high success rate.
“The students help out at the lots, they spend their time working here so they can give back to the ministry. It helps pay the overhead, room, board, classes, things like that,” Greer explains. "This is definitely a big help."
MTN News visited a few local Billings stores to see their tree inventory on Sunday. The stores have a few live-cut and many artificial trees for sale, ranging in price from around $30 to more than $600. "Trees for Hope" has fresh-cut, live trees for sale ranging from $34-$178, depending on size and variety.
Billings residents visiting the lots on Sunday tell MTN News they are happy to support a good cause and their community.
“We decided to come out and buy a Christmas tree this year, and Teen Challenge is an organization that has really helped out a few friends of ours," explains Hollee Miller, a "Trees for Hope" customer. "We just thought it would be cool to kind of give back and support this organization."
Miller says two of her friends have successfully completed the program, and she is thrilled at the opportunity to help out.
Another customer, Sarah Kamenicky, moved to Billings from Alaska in January and explains this is she and her husband's first Christmas in Billings.
“We go to church at Faith Chapel, and we just got out of church and saw there were Christmas trees, and we commonly get a live Christmas tree,” Kamenicky explains.
The program has two locations set up to purchase trees. One is at PAR on 2335 Lewis Ave., and the second is at Faith Chapel on 517 Shiloh Rd. in Billings.
The lots are open seven days a week Sunday-Thursday from 12 to 6 p.m., Friday's 12 to 8 p.m., and Saturday's 10 A.M. to 2 p.m.
The fundraiser began on Nov. 25 and will end on Dec. 23.
"We’re not just selling Christmas trees here, we’re putting hope within reach of an addict somewhere," Greer explains. "This is a great opportunity to get out into your community, get a Christmas tree, and make a change in your community for the better."
To learn more about the Billings "Trees for Hope," please click here.
To learn more about the Adult and Teen Challenge, please click here.