Submitted by Kerri Pothier
Light up for the food bank took place on December 15th 2017 at Louis and Cammy Gendre’s farm in the County of Stettler.
People are continuing to come to their farm for private tours and bringing in food bank donations. It was a huge success that brought in more than was expected for food and cash donations for the Stettler Food Bank.
This light up took many months to prepare for and Cammy and Louis Gendre spent hundreds of hours building the custom arches in their laneway and all the wonderful displays. The event was attended by over 500 people and they have continued to have visitors since the initial light up. There were hundreds of displays and over 40,000 lights. More than 800 candy bags were given out to children and adults who came to enjoy the lights. One of the highlights for the Gendre’s was a little girl who stood next to the lighted castle with the blow up Elsa from Frozen and belted out “Let it go” at the top of her lungs
Children and adults spent many hours walking around the light up and alternatively enjoying a hot dog, cookie and hot chocolate by the fire. One of the highlights for many of the youngest visitors was a trip to the Gendre’s “giving tree”, which is a tree filled with new stuffed animals and treasures. Each young child was told by the couple to pick a toy off the tree for them to take home. The Gendres do not advertise the giving tree on their poster but have had it for the last several years and each year they enjoy seeing the children’s eyes light up when they walk around to pick out their special gift.
As 2017 has now come to a close the Gendres are waiting for their son Matthew to return home in February before they will take down the lights. Until then if anyone missed it they can be reached to do a private tour at 403-742-2500, and are usually willing to accommodate people, it is worth the trip and a wonderful sight to see.
The Gendres would like to acknowledge this event would not have been such a success without the help of family and friends, as well as contributions from many of the businesses in Stettler. The Gendres would like to express their gratitude to Schwartz Home Building Centre for the donation of the lumber, Co-operators for the cash donation, Sobeys for the discounts, No Frills for paying half the cost of the hot dogs and Stettler Rentals for donating the use of coffee urns. The Alliance Church Youth Group generously volunteered their time and was instrumental in helping out at every station of the event from keeping the campfire wiener roast burning, to restocking the candy bags hidden in the decorated forest paths, as well as the collection of the food for the food bank. The Freedom Fellowship Youth Group also attended. The Gendre’s also had help from their special friends David and Wendy Keith who assisted in serving the food and of course their children, Justin McCulloch, Tim Herrell, Elizabeth Herrell and Jordan Herrell who worked on countless projects and jobs to help everything fall into place.