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City Beat: Free Christmas trees for those in need

December 25, 2012 |  1:05 pm

A Christmas tree is a luxury if you're struggling financially. On Christmas Eve, I visited a Christmas tree lot that tries to lend a hand.

It was run by the Delancey Street Foundation, an organization which helps substance abusers turn their lives around. Many of them have spent a lot of time in jails and prison. They've hit rock bottom and scraped their way up from it. They say they know what it is to need help and so appreciate the chance to help others.


The lot opened at 9 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Half an hour before, a line already had formed. Cayetano Hernandez, 50, was at the front with his wife and two children. He is a pool plasterer who has not had much work of late because of the rainy weather. Without toy giveways and the free tree, the family would have had no Christmas, Hernandez said.

Read more about the free Christmas trees and the Delancey Street Foundation in my latest City Beat.

Here's the visual reporter's notebook I sent out on Twitter:


-- Nita Lelyveld

Follow City Beat on Twitter at @latimescitybeat and on Facebook. Send ideas for City Beat dispatches to nita.lelyveld@latimes.com.

Photo: Nora Carvey, 5, is surrounded by her father Buddy and her mother Alisa as they continue the family tradition of getting a free tree each year. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times