Family using Christmas lights to raise funds for Just Food

Lawrence mother Stephanie Fisher is pictured with her two children, Noah, 4, and Kaitlyn, 10, in front of their home at 909 Stonecreek Drive. Fisher and her husband, Kent, have put up their Christmas display for years, but this year they’ve included an option for passersby to show their appreciation by donating to charity. Those choosing to do so can text “justfood” to 80888 to make a 0 donation to the food bank.

The Fisher family has spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to feed their obsession: making Christmas light displays. Now they will use this obsession to feed others.

Kent Fisher is using a display — his Christmas-light-covered house at 909 Stonecreek Drive rocks out for 15 minutes to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Brenda Lee and Coldplay — to raise money for Just Food, Douglas County’s food bank.

“Just Food was just a natural fit for us,” Fisher said. “I wanted a charity that people could relate to and see an immediate benefit to our community.”

Fisher has a radio station, 96.7 FM, rigged to broadcast the music accompanying the Christmas display into watchers’ cars. This year the broadcast also asks watchers to text “justfood” to the number 80888 to donate $10 to the organization. It seems to be working. The Fishers — Kent, wife Stephanie, and children Noah, 4, and Kaitlyn, 10 — have raised more than $700 for the food pantry so far.

“The best part about this is we didn’t have to inquire of him,” Jeremy Farmer, executive director of Just Food, said. “I admire that. They personify what the season is all about.”

Farmer said that a $10 contribution will provide a Christmas meal for three families. Just Food has 900 families signed up for Christmas dinner and plans to serve 2,200 families over the holiday.

“It’s not folks that are unemployed or underemployed that need food assistance,” he said. “It’s the working poor who at the end of the month don’t have enough to pay for food. The need of the community is huge.”

Fisher said they decided to help a charity so that the meaning of Christmas doesn’t get lost in something like a gigantic musical Christmas light display, for instance.

“We are drawing an audience and attention to ourselves, and I don’t want to send the wrong message what Christmas is all about,” he said. “We have kids, and we want to them to know to give back.”