California is home to many unusual Christmas trees, from the mega towers of fir found at our malls to the faux trees that have a way of popping up in the yards of the creatively inclined (think trees made of old tires, or car parts, or solely of lights).
But few uncommon trees, whether they're made of bark and branch or bright bulbs, grow tall due to the contributions of thousands of people wanting to give back and do good.
The CAN-tree Collection in Oxnard can make this community-nice claim, though. Celebrating its 5th outing in 2016, the made-of-food-cans trees will once again go on display at The Collection at RiverPark, after a group of volunteers spend several hours building the tree-like conical structures, one can at a time.
The cans, which can hold just about anything from creamed corn to sweet potatoes to soup, are part of a FOOD Share fundraiser. That's the regional food bank that "emptied its warehouses and depleted its cash reserves to feed more than 136,000 children, seniors, and families in Ventura County who are still food insecure" over the course of 2016.
Canned donations are needed to help the organization in rebuilding its pantry, and the 300-some can trees set to go on display at the Oxnard shopping center over the first weekend in December helps spread the food drive's important word.
Each of the 300 trees will hold "600 to 800 canned goods each," and every tree comes together each year thanks to local service groups, families, and schools. In fact, Ace Charter High School students will help build the towering pair of 14-foot trees, towers that are expected to hold about 10,000 cans each.
The building begins on Thursday, Dec. 1, with a wrap-up expected on Friday afternoon, Dec. 2. Visitors can then view the trees all weekend long, through Sunday, Dec. 4.
FOOD Share has a goal of distributing 12 million pounds of food in 2017, and the thousands of cans creating the can trees is expected to help the organization make a big leap forward on stocking its shelves before the new year begins.
Have a few cans to show with, or want to stop on your way and buy a dozen to give? Be at The Collection at RiverPark from Dec. 2 through 4, and find the FOOD Share booth before you walk among the offbeat but incredibly essential trees, admiring both the build-work of the volunteers as well as the message of the larger "forest."
If you can't make Oxnard over that weekend, you can contribute to FOOD Share and a virtual CAN-Tree online.