MENOMINEE — A local business decided to spread the Christmas cheer a little different this year — through a giving tree.

Employees of R.W. Fernstrum & Company, located at 1716 11th Ave. in Menominee, collected a truck load of necessities from their giving tree and donated the items to the Rainbow House.

According to company president Sean Fernstrum, a shipping coordinator for the company, Michelle Johnson, brought the idea to his attention.

“We thought it would be a good idea,” Fernstrum said. “We simply needed to pick an organization and the Rainbow House came to the top of the list pretty quickly. 

“We decided to do this giving tree in addition to the usual financial donations that we make every year to the Rainbow House and other community organizations. It was a great success. We had a truck load, it seems like, of goods from the employees to donate.” 

Johnson said she originally came up with the idea because at previous places she had worked, there had always been giving trees or trees for the local school districts.

Employees throughout the business gathered gifts of basic necessities in order to give those who are trying to get back on their feet a chance.

“What the Rainbow House does for the families is absolutely amazing,” Johnson said. “I know we didn’t have one last year, so I asked if we could. They gave me the go-ahead.”

Simple basic items like diapers, wipes, canned and boxed food, coffee pots, silverware, sheets, and much more were donated to help families who needed it.

“We wanted to get a lot of gifts together that the people who use their services would be able to use to help get them back on their feet,” Fernstrum said. “These people come there with nothing; literally nothing, just the clothes on their back, their kids — and that’s it.”

Johnson said she believes the turnout was great, especially for it being the first year.

“It’s very humbling to see all of the donations that the employees gave to perfect strangers,” she said. “When we brought them over to the Rainbow House, they were pretty overwhelmed because not only did we donate things to the Rainbow House itself, but there were donations given to these families when they’re ready to leave the house.

“I don’t think people realized they don’t have anything when they leave. Someone who works there said it was amazing to see all of the new items coming in. They normally didn’t have brand new things coming in for these families. That was pretty great to be part of that, to be able to see such a welcoming reception of it.”