HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Each Christmas tree at the Mount Carmel Congregational Church supports a boy scout troop in Hamden. They do a count every day, but came up short twice this past week.
Days after starting their largest fundraiser of the year, members of Troop 600 discovered five trees were missing. The next day, two more were gone along with one of their signs.
“It just kind of makes me feel sad that somebody would steal the trees from us,” Troop 600 scout Aiden Boss told WTNH.
Boss, among his fellow Boy Scouts, are questioning why anyone would take their Christmas trees.
“It’s the season of giving, so it doesn’t really make sense for someone to steal a tree,” Troop 600 scout and assistant senior patrol leader Gabriel Delanui said in a statement.
Scout Master David Zunski is more disappointed than angry because the thieves took away funds that help the troop run all year long. Zunski explained that the money goes toward equipment and programming for the kids to be outside and off their computers, learning both leadership and outdoor skills.
“By taking these trees, you’re literally taking money from kids,” Zunski told WTNH.
Zunski noted that the loss isn’t just a dent in the operating funds, but also a dent in the service values he is trying to instill in his scouts. The fact that someone would steal the trees is “like a bad influence on us,” Boss explained.
“People are doing things that harm us in accomplishing those things,” Zunski said. “And it’s like the opposite of what we’re trying to teach these kids.”
What’s helped them stay positive is an outpouring of support from the community coming to buy trees or simply donating to the cause.
“We know how important these things are and how hard these kids are working,” Barbara Hamilton, who purchased a tree from Troop 600, told WTNH.
Zunski said that the troop recognizes this compassion reflects the spirit of scouting.
“That is going to keep us going for a whole other year and then we’ll be back here next year,” Zunski said.
Troop 600 will be holding a breakfast with Santa inside the church this Sunday, December 5 at 11 a.m. in hopes to recover some of the lost funds from the stolen trees.