Giving Trees popping up in Osceola County

Grassroots initiative offers opportunity to give to those in need

REED CITY — All it takes is the effort of one caring individual to show the community the importance of giving, particularly during the holiday season.

With Christmas just a notch over two weeks away, Reed City resident Melissa Haight-Emmorey wanted to be able to provide gifts, free of charge, to those members of the community who are less fortunate and find themselves in hard times.

As a result, a Christmas giving tree has been placed in front of Sunny’s Sports Bar and Grill, in Reed City, where folks can drop off and pick up cold-weather essentials, such as hats and coats, among other items. 

Haight-Emmorey said the idea came to her after seeing the village of Barryton recently implement its own giving tree.

“There’s so many people that are in need of help and pride gets in the way of them asking,” Haight-Emmorey said. “I thought this was a really cool way to impact the community.”

She added that, sometimes, people who are in need will hesitate to ask for it, even during the time of year that is so often associated with giving and helping others. 

While local organizations and churches put on charitable events around the holidays, Haight-Emmorey explained that it's a stigma that often prevents people from showing up.

“I know there’s churches and things that do stuff like that, but a lot of times people don’t want to go in there,” Haight-Emmorey said. “As a mom or dad, the last thing you want to do is say: ‘I need this for my kids or myself.’ It’s embarrassing.”

Haight-Emmorey explained that having a giving tree out in a public, downtown location will provide anonymity to facilitate stigma-free gift-giving.

“You don’t have to go into a place and plead your case or say what your income level is,” Haight-Emmorey said. “Nobody knows if you’re putting something on (the tree) or taking it away, and that’s why I decided to do it.”

This trend has caught on in Big Rapids as well, with a Christmas giving tree recently popping up in front of Fatty C’s Dog House, located on North Warren Avenue, as well as in front of Everleigh Ray’s Piggies and Pearls, in downtown Big Rapids.

“I had some people reach out to me from Big Rapids and asked if I’d be willing to do some trees in Big Rapids,” Haight-Emmorey said. “

Serendipity, also located in downtown Big Rapids, is expecting the arrival of its own giving tree in the coming days. 


  • Sunny’s Sports Bar & Grill: 122 W Upton Ave., Reed City
  • Fatty C’s Dog House: 107 N Warren Ave., Big Rapids
  • Everleigh Ray’s Piggies and Pearls: 116 N Michigan Ave., Big Rapids
  • Barryton Hardware: 102 E. Northern Ave., Barryton