LAWRENCE, Kan. — In 2011 the food bank that serves all of Douglas County, Kan., called ‘Just Food’ was weeks away from closing down because money was tight. Now, it’s doing better, but the demand to help those who need food has increased. So a Lawrence family is doing its part to help fund that demand.
Bright flashing lights set in time to Christmas music, an elaborate display in Lawrence is the handiwork of Kent Fisher and his family who spend months putting it all together, but to them, the lights aren’t the important part.
“When my kids see this, I don’t want them to think Christmas is about the lights,” Fisher said.
Fisher wanted to teach his kids about giving back during Christmas, so he made his light show with a cause. Passers-by are reminded to text “justfood” to 80888 to give $10 to Just Food.
“We know that they make a significant and immediate impact to our community, and it’s very tangible,” Fisher said.
In 2011, Just Food fell on hard times itself,
“We said we’re closing. We’re in big trouble, and we didn’t know whether or not we were going to be here,” Jeremy Farmer, C.E.O. of Just Food, said.
At that time it was feeding around 2,000 people a month. Now it serves 10,000 people a month, 40 percent of them children. Many are people who never needed help before.
“We hear that all the time. We hear, ‘I always didn’t think I was going to be one of these people,'” Farmer said.
Many are people who may be considered the working poor.
“It’s those people that are working so hard, but due to so many other external circumstances, they’re really unable to just to make ends meet,” Farmer said.
It’s through people willing to help, like the Fishers, that those in need can eat.
“They personify why we’re able to be here doing what we’re doing,” Farmer said.
Kent Fisher hopes to raise $1,000. With two and a half weeks to go until Christmas, he’s nearly halfway there.
If you want to help, you can text “justfood” to 80888. That will send $10 to the charity.
If you want to see the light display, it’s at 909 Stonecreek Drive in Lawrence, Kan.