TAMPA, Fla. — Joel and Norah Mohorter are former high school sweethearts who run the non-profit Hounds for Hope.
The nonprofit started after the couple asked guests to bring items to their yearly Christmas party that could be donated to a local animal shelter.
“We wanted to stay true to the fact that taking care of animals in our community was our initial focus and the initial driver of this event,” said Norah.
As their Christmas party grew so did their humanitarianism.
The couple buys several real Christmas trees to decorate for the party every year. But once it’s over they have no need for the trees.
So, one year they turned to Facebook asking if anyone needed one. The response was tremendous and that’s how their Christmas tree donation started.
“You feel like Santa Claus walking in and dropping a tree in their living room, letting them enjoy it, it’s just amazing,” said Joel.
Each tree the couple gives away includes lights, ornaments, and a stand. They will even help the family set it up if needed. Last year the Mohorter’s gave away 10 trees, but it was number 11 that means the most to Joel.
“I told my wife that somebody had reached out to us and I wanted to give away our tree and she said do it,” Joel said. “The enjoyment that they got out of getting that tree, was way more than I got having that tree sit in my own house, it was a no-brainer.”
Now people are even reaching out to the Mohoter’s to sponsor a tree and cover the cost of ornaments and lights.
“Delivering supplies to the shelter and delivering trees are my favorite days of the year for sure,” says Norah.
This year Joel and Norah donated 27 fully decorated trees and $1000 worth of gifts to area families.
You can learn more about Hounds for Hope and how to donate by clicking here.