Every November, most of the people reading this pick up their kit either from ACE Hardware or their street captain to prepare for the annual Cheshire's Lights of Hope. The 30-60 minutes it takes to set up the luminaries in front of one’s house pales in comparison to what happens as early as mid-October, as the kits themselves are assembled and event preparation begins.
Step one of the process: Creating kits for street captains. This consists of having multiple people at each station, unloading candles and cups in groups of 10, allowing for the “runners” to quickly load each group into a plastic bag. The runner then proceeds the plastic bag off at the ones organizing the paper bags, which are then added. The plastic bag is then tied, and put in a crate. This takes two hours per night, for about 3-4 nights.
Once the kits are made and out for delivery, the crew focuses on setting up the Mile of Hope, which lights up Route 10. This consists of constructing the luminaries, sand and all. The bag goes down an assembly line, as sand, a cup, and a candle are added and crated. These eventually are sent down to multiple locations on Route 10 on the day of the event.
On the morning of Lights of Hope, volunteers gather at the Congregational Church Green to set up for the big rally. Meanwhile, more volunteers conduct last minute sales at Ace Hardware. At around 2 pm, people are dispatched across Route 10, setting up the “Mile of Hope” and lighting the luminaries.
So when you are driving through town next year, don’t only admire that beauty that shines through the luminaries, but also the hard work invested in every single one. For an even better feeling, consider volunteering to help light up the town next year!