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  • Writer's pictureIPH Staff

Deck the Halls: Annual Christmas tree donation makes the season bright for IPH guests

Donation a 20-year holiday tradition for Emmanuel Reformed Church

IPH Albany Emergency Shelter Guest Heather decorates the Christmas tree at the IPH Albany Emergency Shelter on Wednesday, December 8.

The holiday season is merrier for guests at the IPH Albany Emergency Shelter following a special donation that has become an annual tradition.

For more than 20 years, a group of parishioners from Emmanuel Reformed Church in Castleton, N.Y. has celebrated the season by donating a fresh Christmas tree for guests at the IPH shelter on Sheridan Avenue in downtown Albany.

“This is one of the things we do to bring a little joy around the holidays,” said donor David Spink, who is a member of Emmanuel Reformed Church and delivered this year’s tree to the shelter. “It’s a nice thing to do to brighten the shelter. People help decorate the tree. It’s a special time.”

Donor David Spink of Emmanuel Reformed Church adds the topper to the Christmas tree at the IPH Albany Emergency Shelter on Wednesday, December 8.

Numerous shelter guests participated in the tradition of trimming the 6-foot tree by stringing lights and hanging festive ornaments from the branches.

According to Albany Emergency Shelter Supervisor Doni Marshall, the holidays can be a difficult time for guests and participating in a classic seasonal tradition provides them with some comfort.

“The holidays are pretty triggering for folks who are homeless and without family. Having a tree is a bit of normalcy. They have their own decorations and their own style. It brightens up the room a bit,” said Marshall.

The tree donation is just one component of a full range of support that Emmanuel Reformed Church offers to IPH throughout the year. In addition to donating the tree, the group provides meals, ‘love kits’ containing toiletries and monetary contributions.

“IPH has been one of our missions for 25 years. We try to do what we can. It’s nice to bring some festive cheer,” said Spink.


Many holiday traditions center around the home. For those experiencing homelessness, these annual rites can be especially challenging. A small act of kindness can make all the difference for our guests this time of year. Brighten the season with a donation today at

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