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Luminaries to Benefit Hunger Coalition, Remind Us of Community
Tuesday, December 15, 2020


Many Christmas traditions will be shelved this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But one tradition that should shine bright during socially distanced events is the luminaria.

Lee Dabney, who started the tradition in the Wood River Valley 16 years ago, says it offers families a chance to stroll around their neighborhood looking at the lights. And, as always, the donations for supplies will be given to The Hunger Coalition.

“There’s always a need, but this year there’s especially a need because of all the people who have lost income during the pandemic,” she said.

Those who want to light up their neighborhood are asked to make a minimum donation of $10 to The Hunger Coalition. For that they will receive 10 luminary kits comprised of 10 white bags, 10 votive candles and instructions.

The bags should be set up along the street in front of your home on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 20, as a show of support for our community and those in need, Dabney said.

To make a donation, visit and write “Luminary” in the comment box. Kits can be picked up at The Hunger Coalition at 121 Honeysuckle Lane in Bellevue. Or, they can be purchased and picked up at 620 Kintail Drive in Hailey’s Northridge neighborhood.

“Because of the pandemic, The Hunger Coalition is not able to do its normal fundraisers so I hope this can help,” said Dabney. “I’ve ordered 5,500 bags, which my husband is desperately hoping we’ll sell off because they’re filling my garage right now.”

Dabney started the tradition in her neighborhood when her son, who is now a sophomore in high school, was a baby. She had seen her sister set up luminaries while visiting her one Christmas in New York State and thought it was beautiful. Over the years she’s raised $40,000 for The Hunger Coalition.

“It’s such a simple thing but quite lovely,” said Dabney. “You light the candles at dusk and they burn for 10 hours. Because it’s snow season they can burn all night long, and the paper bags are biodegradable so there’s not a lot of waste.

“This is a communal thing that’s safe,” she added. “You can walk in the fresh air or you can drive through the neighborhood. Hopefully, it’ll give people a lift since we’re not going to Christmas concerts and Christmas services this year.”

Questions? Call or text 208-720-9680.

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