Lights on the River hands out food and funds to 14 St. Lawrence County food pantries

Lights on the River hands out food and funds to 14 St. Lawrence County food pantries

Lights on the River hands out food and funds to 14 St. Lawrence County food pantries

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LISBON — Piles of food and about $24,000 that was collected during this year’s Lights on the River were distributed Tuesday to 14 area food pantries, helping replenish supplies for the winter season.

Each food pantry received a check for $1,500 along with an assortment of non-perishable food items that were donated by thousands of visitors who toured the holiday-themed light display over a period of 10 nights that ended Dec. 22.

Baby items such as diapers, formula and baby food also were collected.

“We find this extremely beneficial,” said Nicole J. Sharp, director of Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center. “The cash is wonderful because we can use it to help people with rent, utility bills, emergency shelter and other expenses.”

She said the food donations help restock the pantry shelves during a busy time of year.

“It also gives us more of a variety. We’re able to put out items that I don’t normally order from the food bank,” Ms. Sharp said. “I look forward to this every year.”

Jonathan S. Santamoor, event president, said the amount of food donated was comparable to last year, but money donations were lower than last year’s $31,000.

“A lot of organizations are asking for donations this time of year,” Mr. Santamoor said. “We didn’t meet our goal of beating what we had last year, but we’re still happy overall.”

He estimated that between 2,500 and 3,000 cars toured the display, about 100 a night on weekdays and 300 a night on weekends.

This year marked the seventh annual Lights on the River and the volunteers are already discussing ways to improve next year’s event, he said. A volunteer committee will be meeting monthly throughout the year in the basement of the Lisbon Library.

This year several of the giant blow-up decorations fell down because freezing rain clogged up the motors that keep them inflated.

“We highly recommend that people don’t use blow-ups, but we don’t tell them they can’t,” Mr. Santamoor said.

Mr. Santamoor said he’s already been contacted by businesses and other groups that have not set up a display before, but would like to do so. There is no charge to participate.

Groups that set up floats for Ogdensburg’s Light up the Night parade are encouraged to set up their floats on a trailer and display them at Lights on the River.

Mr. Santamoor said he plans to create YouTube videos to show people how easy it is to create a display and set it up on a trailer.

Making displays in the summer is also a good idea because it’s warmer out and people usually have more time, he said.

Those who visit the display are asked, but not required, to donate money, food or both as they enter the drive-through display which features about 80 holiday-themed exhibits set up by civic groups, families, churches, businesses and others.

Food pantries that will receive donations include: Canton Church & Community Program, Canton Neighborhood Center, Gouverneur Neighborhood Center, Hammond Neighborhood Center, Heuvelton Food Pantry, Lisbon Food Pantry, Massena Neighborhood Center, Norwood-Norfolk Raymondville Outreach, Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center, Ogdensburg Salvation Army, Ogdensburg’s St. John Episcopal Food Pantry, Ogdensburg Salvation Army, Potsdam Neighborhood Center, Richville Food Pantry,

Donations are accepted all year and can be mailed to: Lights on the River, P.O. Box 27, Lisbon, N.Y. 13658. Mr. Santamoor can be reached at 244-2019. The organization also has a website and Facebook page. Emails can be sent to

Source: Watertown Daily Times
Lights on the River hands out food and funds to 14 St. Lawrence County food pantries

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