COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Every person invited to be in the line outside of The Christmas Tree Project giveaway in Colorado Springs has a special story.
"It means a lot to us because I've never had anything special as a kid," said Armani Macy.
Many of them struggling to get by.
"Times are hard, you know everybody is going through problems," said Melissa Llewellyn. "This helps a lot take everything off of our shoulders."
Each family is given a tree and a choice of hundreds of decorations to take with them for free.
"We got this ornament thing," said Jackson True.
"I got these two stuffed animals," said David True.
The idea for the giveaway, born in 2010 when David and Michelle Fein made a post on Craigslist offering a Christmas tree for free.
"We got all these responses," said Michelle Fein. "I remember sitting in my living room and I looked at Davi and said, 'What are we going to do? There are 19 more families.'"
"She had $20 from her principal to do something good with and she said, "Let's buy the Boys Home a tree'," said David "Davi" Fein. "Then we were having dinner with some friends, and we had 18 (families) left on the list and they started throwing $20 on the dinner table."
Since then, they've given away thousands of trees thanks to the generosity of countless people ready to help. All they ask is each recipient fill out an application online and tell them about their situation. Click here to fill out an application.
"Everyone has a story, everyone will tug at your heart, some of them will make you do anything to get that family a tree," said David Fein.
This year, Fein says they received 26,000 applications from around the world. They were able to say "yes" to a few hundred.
When we met the Feins at the giveaway, we were struck by just how far they'll go to help, no matter from where in the world they get a request.
WATCH: COLORADO SPRINGS COUPLE HELPS GIVE AWAY THOUSANDS OF CHRISTMAS TREES
"I'll call a local tree farm and say, 'Hey, I'm David, I need an elf, I'm with The Christmas Tree Project, we have a family that called," he said. "I tell them a little bit about the family and usually in 60 seconds, they'll say we'll absolutely donate a tree to that family."
What they get in return reminds them of the difference they are making. In one thank you letter, a mom said the elves at The Christmas Tree Project made their Christmas extra special. She wrote:
"THANK YOU FOR BEING THE FIRST ONES THERE, THE LAST ONES TO LEAVE, FOR STAYING IN THE FREEZING COLD FOR US, FOR DOING ALL THE HEAVY LIFTING, FOR SHARING COOKIES WITH CRYING BABIES AND BOOKS FOR KIDS, AND BLESSING THE MULTITUDE OF FAMILIES AND PEOPLE THAT YOU DID- WITH CHEERFUL HEARTS."
When we saw their determination, their selflessness, we knew David and Michelle Fein had to be the next winners of the News 5 Jefferson Award. So, a few days later we made that happen.
"When you give someone a tree ,you don’t really realize how much it’s going to affect them," said Michelle Fein. "We never knew the value of a Christmas tree but when we get those letters back and those emails back, you go 'Wow, this really is making a difference for this family.'"
"It just means that we’re hitting home, we’re hitting heart, we’re really touching lives," said David Fein.
Remember if you or someone you know is deserving of the News 5 Jefferson Award we want to know about. Click here to submit your nomination.
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