Jesse Reynolds and Kim Nappi and her daughters, Julia, 6, left and Addison, 9, stop for a photo at the South Portland Cape Elizabeth Rotary Christmas tree sale after purchasing trees for those in need. Contributed / South Portland Cape Elizabeth Rotary

A South Portland couple has embraced the holiday spirt of giving by providing Christmas trees to those who can’t afford them this year.

Jesse Reynolds and Kim Nappi purchased 11 Christmas trees last week for families in need.

“I always like to do something nice around the holidays,” Jesse Reynolds said

In the past, he said, he has volunteered or performed some form of community service, but after seeing an idea online of donating Christmas trees, Reynolds thought he’d give that a try this season.

He went to the South Portland Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club’s tree sale at Mill Creek Park to see what he could arrange. He and Jim Britt, a Rotarian for nearly 10 years, came up with a plan.

“It’s the first time, in my experience, that anything like this has happened during our tree sale,” Britt said.

After agreeing on details and leaving it up to the Rotary’s discretion to confirm that the tree recipients are in need, Reynolds returned to the lot the following night with his girlfriend, Kim Nappi, and her daughters, Julia, 6, and Addison, 9.

“I grew up in South Portland and love living in this community and have served the community being a physical therapist,” said Nappi, owner of Move Forward PT, which has a South Portland location. “An opportunity to be able to give back to that community that’s helped support me is wonderful.”

The couple paid for the 11 trees, thanks in part to contributions from friends Crystal Rodgers and Kristen Jordan, they said.

The Rotary’s trees sell from between $27.50 for tabletops to $100 for 9- to 10-footers.

“What Jesse and Kim did was very sweet and kind,” Britt said. “Their decision to pay it forward is something we all should honor and strive for in our lives.”

The decision to pay it forward at the local Rotary club’s 59th annual Christmas tree sale was “a pretty easy choice,” Reynolds said, because of “their spirit for community service and just giving and helping your neighbors.”

The club puts all of its profits from the annual tree sale – this year is its 59th – back into the community in the form of gifts, grants, scholarships and projects.

“I felt like it was the best option to donate the money to,” said Reynolds, who owns Apex Electrical Services in South Portland.

Just 24 hours later, Reynolds already saw an impact. In a South Portland community forum on Facebook, he saw that someone had asked for help because they couldn’t afford a tree this Christmas.

“A bunch of people responded, ‘Hey, you gotta go down to Rotary, some guy and his girlfriend just bought a bunch of trees, they’ll give you a tree,'” he said, laughing. “It was pretty cool to see it working almost immediately.”

Nappi wanted to provide a good example for her children.

“I wanted to show my girls that it’s really nice to be able to donate to the community,” she said. “They were really excited about that.”

Both hope that their act of kindness can inspire others to do the same.

“Really, the best gift is to give,” Reynolds said. “Kim and I are in a position to help others, and there’s a lot of people struggling right now, so really any little bit helps.”

Comments are not available on this story.