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Selling Trees to Raise Funds in Brentwood

The Delancey Street Foundation operates Christmas tree lots in four states and has set up shop once again in the community.

It may seem like a simple Christmas tree lot, but it's part of an annual fundraising effort by an organization dedicated to helping former substance abusers, ex-convicts and the homeless.

The tree lot at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Barrington Avenue is staffed by residents of the Delancey Street Foundation's Los Angeles facility.

"It's a great cause to support, Delancey Street has changed my life," said lot manager Chris Nelson, who lives at the organization's Los Angeles facility.

Combined with the obvious necessity of raising funds to keep Delancey Street going, Nelson said his "favorite thing about selling Christmas trees on the ... lot is being able to give little gifts to the younger kids, because we give gifts to the kids who come on the lot. It's about giving, and to make someone's day when they find the perfect tree, ... that's what it's about, it's about making people happy in the spirit of Christmas."

Nelson's coworkers shared similar sentiments.

Max Sanders said "watching other people enjoy their Christmas" was his favorite thing about working at the tree lot.

Jose Suarez added his tree lot job is a good way "to get involved with other people, getting to learn how to live life again. When they're here to enjoy it, we get to enjoy it also."

In addition to a wide assortment of trees that come from a supplier in Oregon, "holiday buyers can also find ... lots mistletoe, indoor tree lights, decorated wreaths, living potted pines, tree removal bags and water bowls for trees," according to the San Francisco-based organization's website.

Founded in 1971, Delancey Street has additional facilities in New Mexico, North Carolina and New York, where the organization also operates Christmas tree lots. There are six lots in the Los Angeles area and a total of 23 nationwide.

The lots started selling trees and decorations the day after Thanksgiving and will wrap up this year's fundraiser on Friday, Nelson said. The Brentwood location is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

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