Nonprofit dedicated to neighbors helping neighbors increases contributions and raises $70,000 – bringing fundraising total to more than $985,000
CHESHIRE, Conn. (November 15, 2019) – On Saturday, November 9, 2019 Cheshire’s Lights of Hope hosted its 15th annual town-wide luminary event and presenting $34,000 in grants to local nonprofits. More than 50,000 illuminated the town and the annual event has now raised more than $985,000.
During the afternoon ceremony on the Cheshire Town Green attended by more than 100 volunteers and sponsors, Don Walsh and Jenifer Walsh, co-founders of the organization, proudly announced due to the success of this year’s donations and sales of luminary kits, the nonprofit awarded $13,000 to the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, $13,000 to Cheshire Youth and Family Services, and $8,000 to the Petit Family Foundation. The money raised will also award two $2,000 scholarships for volunteer-oriented high school seniors in June 2020.
The event also funds Cheshire’s Lights of Hope commitment of $25,000 toward the construction of the new Cheshire Community Food Pantry building. The fourth and final installment will be presented early next year to the Community Food Pantry and Cheshire’s Lights of Hope will continue to make donations throughout the year to other Cheshire-based organizations.
Founded in 2005 by Don and Jenifer Walsh with a small group of neighbors, “Light the Night with Hope” expanded to a town-wide event in 2007. Through acts of kindness and generosity, the organization encourages good citizenship and promotes volunteerism while embracing and supporting local charities.
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 by residents. The proceeds raised are then donated in the spirit of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” which is the mission of the organization.
“Every year we are amazed by the number of volunteers and sponsors who donate their time, talents and funds to make this event possible. Together we were able to light a majority of our town and the Mile of Hope on Route 10 was a beautiful sight. We’d like to say a special thank-you to: Joe and Robin Whitright and the entire staff at Paws Pet Resort & Spa, the Cheshire First Congregational Church, Pat and Terry Bowman and the entire staff at R.W. Hine ACE Hardware, Main Street Caffe, Cheshire Nursery, the faculty and students of Cheshire Academy and Coach Drust and the CHS football team along with Coach Kristine Drust and the CHS softball team” said Don Walsh.
Cheshire High School students have become major contributors to the event, especially since a Lights of Hope club was started at the school three years ago.
“The first year the club started there were only about five students in attendance,” added Walsh, “This year at the first meeting we had about 110 students express interest in the club. I am really happy that the kids are getting involved in this because ultimately all these charities are raising money for their futures.”
A proposal to rename a portion of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail the “Trail of Hope” has recently been submitted to the Town of Cheshire. The proposal is expected to pass and a naming event will be scheduled in early spring.
Next year’s luminary event has been scheduled and will be held on November 14, 2020 .
Luminaries and Cheshire’s Lights of Hope merchandise can also be purchased year-round for the holidays or other events on cheshireslightsofhope.com.
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 $985,000. 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, visit cheshireslightsofhope.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.