A little girl follows her grandma to pick out a new Christmas tree at the Queen Anne Boy Scouts annual tree lot on Saturday, Nov. 24.
A little girl follows her grandma to pick out a new Christmas tree at the Queen Anne Boy Scouts annual tree lot on Saturday, Nov. 24.

Queen Anne Boy Scouts are spending their afternoons covered in tree sap and smelling of evergreens as they sell Christmas trees to raise money for their troop and the local food bank.

Troops 70 and 72 opened the annual tree lot next to the Queen Anne Safeway on Saturday, Nov. 24, and sold wreaths, garlands and deep-green trees.

“We learn how to work with the community,” said 17-year-old scout Evan. “I also learned that sap stays on clothes really long. But I like doing it; it helps kids and it helps out. It’s not that hard of work.”

Troops 70 and 72 have been in the Queen Anne neighborhood for decades, and selling Christmas trees has become an annual tradition. No one is sure when the troops started selling the trees. Some speculate the fundraiser started in the early 1990s, and other say the troop has been selling trees since the 1970s.

“I sold a tree to someone, and they said their son was in scouts and they’ve been doing this since the ‘70s,” said scout parent Kelly Charleston. “We didn’t have a fence back in the ‘70s, so someone had to sleep at the lot.”

Charleston said his son started as a Cub Scout when he was 5, and now the 17-year-old is working to become an Eagle Scout.

“This is great because the boys learn a lot,” Charleston said. “And what’s great about the tree lot is the direct work with the community.”

The troops raise thousands of dollars through their sales. More than $5,000 was donated to the Queen Anne Food Bank last year by selling 1,400 trees.

Money from tree sales is split between the troops and the food bank. The troops use the money for scholarships, so members can travel to events throughout the year.

There are trees of all sizes at the lot, but troop leaders are letting customers know that tall trees will be on limited supply this year.

Every year the two troops have their trees delivered from farms in Oregon and Eastern Washington.  Tree farmers take 10 years to grow their supply.

“Well, 10 years ago the recession hit, so the farmers couldn’t plant as many seeds,” said Garrett Baseman, troop dad and volunteer. “So last year we had a shorter supply of trees. This year we have a shorter supply of tall trees for the same reason. So we hope people who want tall trees come out earlier.”

Men from The Seattle SeaChordsmen are volunteering to run the cashier trailer during the fundraiser.

“We are able to promote the holiday show,” Aaron Edwards said. “Some of us are also troop leaders and scout parents.”

Edwards is a leader of a local Cub Scout group and his sons and daughters are now involved in family scouting. The SeaChordsmen have been volunteering with the tree lot for two years as a way to be more community oriented.

The tree lot is open from 5–8 p.m. Monday-Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Prices range from $25 to $150 for wreaths and trees, and fresh garlands are $2 a foot.