Nonprofit dedicated to neighbors helping neighbors increases participation, contributions, and raises $70,000 during a challenging year
CHESHIRE, Conn. (November 15, 2020) – On Saturday, November 14, 2020, Cheshire's Lights of Hope brought the town together in spirit to host its 16th annual town-wide event. As residents and volunteers prepared to light more than 45,000 luminaries along the Mile of Hope on Route 10 and throughout the town, Co-Founders Don and Jenifer Walsh presented $40,500 in grants to local nonprofits. They also announced the organization had raised more than $1 million since it began in 2005.
"This year is an opportunity to pause for a moment and reflect on our work over the past 16 years and celebrate our collective achievements as a community," said Don Walsh. "What started as a small neighborhood gathering has expanded beyond our expectations every year. We're grateful for our generous volunteers, our sponsors, and the community who comes together to celebrate and advance our mission."
The afternoon ceremony on the First Congregational Church Green was adapted to accommodate COVID-19 protocols and closed to the public. Don Walsh and Jenifer Walsh proudly announced the increase in donations and sales of luminary kits allowed the nonprofit to increase grants and award $14,500 to the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, $14,500 to Cheshire Youth and Family Services, and $8,500 to the Petit Family Foundation. This year Cheshire's Lights of Hope also presented the Cheshire Food Drive $2,000 and the Cheshire YMCA a $1,000 grant, and money raised will again award two $2,000 scholarships for volunteer-oriented high school seniors.
Jim Thomas, an active member of the Cheshire community for the past 25 years and a Founding Director, Vice President and President of the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, was presented the Cheshire's Lights of Hope Luminary Award in recognition of his generosity, acts of kindness, good citizenship, and volunteerism. Part of the Luminary Award is a gift of $1000 to the charity of the recipients choice. Jim chose to give his to the Cheshire Community Food Pantry.
Cheshire's Lights of Hope raises funds through sales of luminary kits. The luminaries are simultaneously lit throughout the town by schools, churches, local businesses, and residents. The proceeds raised are donated in the spirit of the organization's "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" mission.
High school students are major contributors to the event, especially since a Lights of Hope club was started at Cheshire High School four years ago. This year, students from Cheshire High School and Cheshire Academy logged hundreds of volunteer hours while filling orders for luminary kits, setting up the Mile of Hope, and cleaning up.
Next year's luminary event has been scheduled and will be held on November 13, 2021.
Luminaries and Cheshire's Lights of Hope merchandise can also be purchased year-round for the holidays or other events on our website.
ABOUT CHESHIRE'S LIGHTS OF HOPE
Cheshire's Lights of Hope unites our community to light up our town and create a brighter world. Through acts of kindness and generosity we encourage good citizenship and promote volunteerism while embracing and supporting local charities.
Since 2005, Cheshire's neighbors have turned to each other to raise money for local charities, raising more than $1 million. The now-annual Cheshire's Lights of Hope event has brought together neighbors to help neighbors all with the simple act of lighting a single candle in a bag and illuminating our wonderful town. Upwards of 100 volunteers turn out every year to bring the event to fruition. From street captains to clean-up crew, the town has made this event its own and has helped hundreds of area families. 100% of proceeds raised go directly to charities in the Cheshire community. For more information browse our website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.