AFFTON, Mo - On January 25, exactly one month after Christmas, Donna McCall still has a Christmas tree. Actually, she has about a dozen of them. They're donations from her neighbors.
"I had two people bring their trees here," McCall said.
She picked up the rest.
"I saw one in a yard and I knocked on a door and she was more than happy, yeah, she was more than happy to get rid of it," she said.
In total, 26 trees have reached her front yard in Affton. However, they don't stay for long. McCall loads around seven at a time back into her truck and hits the road.
"We are heading to the Gentle Barn, which is out in Dittmer, Missouri," she said.
Around 40 minutes later, she's getting out of her truck and tossing trees into a pigpen with General Manager Michelle Robertson.
"We are so incredibly grateful to the whole community," Robertson said.
Robertson says the pigs not only love to eat (undecorated and undyed) Christmas trees, but they also love to play in them.
"I know they're loving it just from the look on their faces," she said. "It's also something they can scratch on. They can roll around. It just makes their life that much better here."
This isn't the first time McCall made good use of holiday leftovers. After Halloween, she collected around 300 pumpkins for the pigs.
"They just love, love, to eat whole raw pumpkins," McCall said. "The joy I get is seeing something that was previously my neighbor's has now become recycled into something that's joyful for the animals to share."
The Gentle Barn is the same animal sanctuary that's home to six cows who made headlines last spring when they escaped a North St. Louis slaughterhouse, sending police on a chase. They're known as the St. Louis Six.
You can visit the cows, pigs, and other animals. The Gentle Barn is open to the public on Sundays from 11 AM to 1 PM. Tickets begin at $10 and must be purchased in advance.