New Brunswick

Christmas tree made of lobster traps on display for a good cause

A Christmas tree made from 120 lobster traps is on display in Saint Andrews — and for a good cause.

Last year, the community sold 96 buoys and raised $2,900 for the local food bank

Volunteers including Luke Macdonald, Ryan Wood, Chelsey Hansan, Victoria Margaret, Ally Spear, Bill Brownrigg, Kevin Simmonds, Greg Beckerton and Tim Taylor made the tree out of 120 recycled lobster traps. (Submitted by Ally Spear )

A Christmas tree made from 120 lobster traps is on display in Saint Andrews town square — and for a good cause.

"Just like a pyramid, [they] come together at the top. We secure them with lots of zip ties and pieces of rope and then we had our tree," said Ally Spear, one of the volunteers who helped put the tree together.

But every tree needs decorations, so volunteers are selling buoys that can be painted and added to the tree — with the proceeds going to the community's new food bank, the St. Andrews and Area Open Door program.

This is the third year the tree has been built in the town square with the proceeds going to the food bank.

Ally Spear and her husband, who's a fifth-generation fisherman, collected the old lobster traps that are being used for the tree. (Submitted by Ally Spear)

Last year, the community sold 96 buoys to decorate it and raised $2,900.

"The food banks were in St. George and St. Stephen but there wasn't one in Saint Andrews," Spear said. 

"So a group of people got together and developed one and we thought that it would be nice to help them."

Holly Johnson, one of the food bank's volunteers, said she's grateful for the volunteers who put the tree together because all the proceeds go toward buying grocery store gift cards that can be distributed to families in need.

"I think [the tree] is an incredible symbol of our community coming together, our community recognizing that we do have people who are struggling to make ends meet to be able to afford food," Johnson said.

The lobster-trap tree replaced the town's real tree in 2017. (Submitted by Ally Spear)

"But I think most of all, though, people are really stepping up and pitching in and recognizing that that need is there and it just makes my heart warm."

Spear said about 50 buoys have been sold this year and it gives people the chance to contribute to the town's festive tree.

"It's a great way to get the community together and everybody has an opportunity to be creative," she said. 

"We've seen people buy buoys and then have a night out with friends where they paint these buoys and it kind of makes an activity for people to get together."

People are invited to purchase buoys to decorate them so they can be added to the tree. (Submitted by Aly Spear)

Christmas trees made from lobster traps aren't uncommon — both Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia raise one each year to memorialize fishermen who were lost at sea.

Spear said she and her husband, a fifth-generation fisherman, donated the old traps.

"We just put them away every year and pull them out and that way we can save a tree by not having to cut one down and just reuse some of our old gear," she said.

Spear said buoys will continue to be sold into December. Buoys are available at the Red Herring Pub in Saint Andrews for $30 each.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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