EAST COUNTY — It wasn’t enough for Taylor Emmons to stuff a few backpacks full of food and ship them off to All Faiths Food Bank.
In fact, the philanthropic effort — which benefited hungry children throughout the community — only spurred the former Out-of-Door Academy star pitcher to do more.
This year, one year after Taylor’s tragic death Dec. 5, 2010, those dreams of helping needy children are being realized.
Through their Maine Christmas tree farm, now named Taylor’s Trees, the Emmons family will be selling handmade, double-sided Balsam fir wreaths Dec. 3-11. Each 22-inch wreath is decorated in red berries and pinecones and comes with either a burgundy or red ribbon.
Proceeds from wreath sales will benefit All Faiths Food Bank’s backpack program and the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund, which provides underprivileged youth an opportunity to attend ODA.
One thousand wreaths are scheduled for delivery Dec. 1, and volunteers will be selling the wreaths at three locations, including two in the East County (see Where to Buy above). Wreaths also will be available for purchase during Music on Main Dec. 2 on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.
The idea for the tree farm began after father Mike Emmons received a call from a colleague, whose wife wished to go “tipping” — or cut branches off of pine trees — on a large tract of Emmons’ property in Maine.
“Two weeks later, I received this beautiful wreath (they’d) made,” Emmons said. “It made my house smell like Maine.”
Then, as Emmons purchased a Christmas tree for his family, he realized he could plant a tree farm on his property in Maine, as well, and use the proceeds from Christmas tree sales to benefit ODA. The family planted 4,000 trees, which will be ready for harvesting in about five more years.
“We referred to it in our house as the ODA Tree Farm,” Emmons aid. “When Taylor passed away, we changed the name to Taylor’s Trees.”
Selling wreaths now will help raise awareness while also providing funding for logistics and other future costs, he said.
By Thanksgiving, Taylor’s Trees had sold about 600 wreaths online, Taylor’s mom, Katie Emmons said. Wreath sale organizers are seeking volunteers to assist with sales.
For more information, visit www.temmons.org.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
WHERE TO BUY
Wreaths will be available for purchase from Dec. 3-11, at three locations in Sarasota:
• The corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road
• North of Lakewood Ranch Town Hall
• The corner of Cattlemen Road and University Parkway
Mike and Katie Emmons said the wreaths should be displayed indoors. Wreaths last longer in cooler temperatures.