The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw this year served as the Chicago Christmas Tree Ship, arriving on December 1 at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, to offload more than 1,200 Christmas trees harvested in Cheboygan, Michigan.
The trees are purchased through donations given to Chicago’s Christmas Ship. Founded by a group of professional mariners, the organization revived the Christmas Ship tradition 18 years ago. Their mission: provide Christmas trees to disadvantaged families in Chicago. Since 1999, more than 20,000 Christmas trees have been given away. Next year’s Christmas Ship will deliver trees on December 1, 2018.
This video from ABC Chicago has more:
The original Christmas Tree Ship, the schooner Rouse Simmons, delivered fresh evergreens and wreaths for the holiday season from Michigan to Chicago for more than 30 years until the ship sank in 1912 while crossing Lake Michigan.