A special effort is underway in Oneida County to help families impacted by cancer.

What You Need To Know

  • This is the tenth year of the Christmas tree giveaway

  • The trees go to families impacted by cancer and those who can't afford a tree

  • Dr. Mark Montgomery is the founder of Joseph's Experience

"Dad bought 50 acres back in the 1960s for $600. That's how we acquired this land," said Dr. Mark Montgomery, the founder of Joseph's Experience.

The land was split up among his children, and Montgomery had a generous idea for his part. He wanted to create a sanctuary for families impacted by cancer.

If there's one thing Dr. Montgomery doesn't do, it's settle. He transformed his property into a place where people can come and check out some of the different things nature has to offer.

"One day I was walking through the woods and came across an Austrian Pine and told my wife, 'Why don't we give away Christmas trees?' She proceeded to remind me that I'm crazy and my habits are expensive, but I grew up poor. I grew up on welfare, and I wanted to be able to have a project that exuded how thankful I am for everything in my life, hence the Christmas tree farm was born," Dr. Montgomery said.

First he wanted to give away trees to children who are impacted by cancer or leukemia, then anyone who is suffering.

"Third, anybody who cannot afford it. So ultimately my vision is for Central New York to be able to come down here, and no matter what the circumstances are, to be able to have the joy of Christmas through a free tree," he said.

All he asks is for those who take a tree to plant a tree in its place in the spring.

"If you come up and take a tree, I ask that you come back and replace a tree in honor of somebody," he said.

He's dedicating this year's efforts to his father who recently passed away.

"It's bittersweet, but overall it's honor. It's a way to show the world what my father stood for," Dr. Montgomery said.

For more information about these efforts, you can contact Dr. Montgomery on Facebook.