‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas trees lift school, spirits

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has found a way to use Charlie Brown-style Christmas trees to benefit a middle school that provides scholarships for students from an impoverished area. Frank Pichel sold scrawny wild pine trees from land he owns to raise money for the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond’s East End. The school was started in 2009 by parishioners and priests who wanted to help children from low-income families change their lives. Pichel has sold 180 trees and raised more than $5,000 for the school. Pichel’s customers say the imperfect trees seem appropriate in a year that saw the world struggle with the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.