Deena C. Bouknight Contributing Writer
The day after Thanksgiving Day-tree lot opening at Crabtree General Store in
downtown Franklin has fast become a tradition in Macon County. Sales of Christmas trees benefit the annual and national effort, Buy A Tree. Change a Life. (BATCAL), sponsored locally by Prentiss Church.
“[BATCAL] affords us the opportunity to contribute to the needs of children globally and locally, with the simple purchase of a Christmas tree,” said J.D. Woodside, Prentiss Church’s lead pastor. “It’s really amazing, that because of a simple tree purchase, children halfway around the world can be fed and clothed. Also important to remember is that each year a simple tree purchase helps children right here in our own community, not only during Christmas but throughout the year.”
BATCAL is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012. It was established to help children globally and locally, and 100% of proceeds raised during the project goes directly to efforts chosen by area hosts. In 2021, 17 states participated with 59 total sites selling at total of 15,000 trees.
BATCAL’s local site-director is Randy Stoudemire, who Woodside credited for “making this community-wide event possible.”
Woodside added, “We’re super excited about this year’s Buy a Tree Change a Life. Last year we raised over $33,000 and were able to bless several projects in our community with over $2,000 each: Shop with A Cop, Pregnancy Care Center, KIDS Place, Union Academy and South Macon Elementary.”
Besides monies allocated for various charities, as well as for the purchase of backpacks for school- children in Macon County, BATCAL funds ongoing Prentiss Church ministry efforts in Cambodia, considered a “least developed” country by the United Nations. BATCAL funds building projects, clothing, food, education, the needs of orphans, and more. Historically, Cambodia has struggled with poverty and ongoing government oppression since Cambodia was ravaged by the Khmer Rouge regime under the leadership of Pol Pot. Two million people lost their lives in the mid-1970s.
Fraser fir trees, purchased regionally when possible, are paid for by donated funds from individuals and businesses and are usually sold out by Saturday afternoon. Woodside noted, “We are still accepting business sponsors if they would like to reach out to Prentiss Church at (828)369-3885.”
And, even though BATCAL is a Christmas season-focused fundraiser, donations may be made year-round. For more information, visit www.buyatreechangealife.com.