By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 25, 2023.
The Caldwell family is once again ready to brighten up not only their neighbourhood with Christmas lights and decorations, but the community as a whole by helping families in need have a pleasant Christmas through their toy and food drive.
For the sixth straight year, Vince and Chandel Caldwell are opening up their front yard to community members to drop off non-perishable food items for the Lethbridge Food Bank and new unwrapped toys for the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots campaign.
After spending hundreds of hours setting up more than 60,000 lights onto their house and yard to bring some joy into their neighbourhood, the Caldwells are ready to welcome members of the community to their toy and food drive kick-off tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m. at 126 Red Crow Blvd. West. Their goal for this year is to collect 3,000 pounds of food along with three truckloads of toys.
Chandel says there will be lots of things to do for attendees, including a chance to roast marshmallows on the driveway while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies, a carriage ride around the block, and plenty of photo opportunities
“Vince and I have created the Santa’s bag giveaways, as an incentive for people to donate, with some local businesses that have donated some gifts. The incentive for people to donate is that they get entered into a draw where they can win some of those gifts,” said Chandel.Â
She said giveaways include four tickets to a Hurricanes game, a photography session, dinner for two at Italian Table, a limousine ride Christmas lights tour and more which will be displayed at the kickoff party.Â
“Last year we missed our goal for the first time. We were 1,300 pounds food shy so we’re hoping to achieve it this year,” said Vince.
Â She said they through the years, the event has continued to grow with people coming from all across southern Alberta including Taber, Coaldale, Picture Butte and surrounding areas.
Â “We learned this year that from totalling everything in the last five years, we’ve raised over $40,000 in value from food and toys through our drive, so we’re pretty proud of that and very thankful to those in the community that have contributed to that,” said Chandel.
Chandel said they will have the bins out until Jan. 7 when the light display will go dark.
“Starting on Nov. 26 during our kickoff event the lights will be on, and then the lights will be on every day until Jan. 7 from 4:30 to 11:00 p.m.,” said Chandel.
She said members of the community are welcome to stop by and enjoy their display, if they are able to donate they are welcome to do so, and if they are not comfortable leaving their donations in the bins, they are welcome to knock on their door and they will take their donation inside, which can include cash donations they will later on use to purchase food or toys according to the need.
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