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GaryBo
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This year, I have encountered a slightly different problem, that really isn't a problem. While I have been outside meeting viewers or dressed as Santa, many viewers have attempted to give me money, or have left money in our mail box or in our news letter box.

My newsletter states we don't ask for monetary donations and suggest they (the viewers), if they feel the need to donate, that they do so, and donate to a charity such as the Salvation army, or a charity that helps out our Service Men and Women, such as lbeh.org

I , like most others on this forum, put up my display, for everyone's enjoyment (including mine), and ask for nothing more, than the smiles seen on all the faces.

Besides, I feel if I take money, I will be “prostituting” myself and lose my amateur standing.

This year, unintentionally, I have rec'd about $600. That money was in turn donated to the Salvation Army, a local women's shelter, a pet sanctuary, and LBEH.

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People just feel the need to donate when they see all the work that goes into our displays and they know that our electric bill is coming. For years people hounded me about putting out a donation box, so this year I finally did. I have collected about $200.00 so far, not sure where it's going yet though.

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This is our fifth season and we have been asked numerous times if we took donations. I politely stated "No, look at your kids in the back seat. That why we do it!"

Well for Halloween we decided that we would take donations for the town's food pantry. Extremely well received. Many folks like the idea that it stays in the community.

I guess all in all, pick a charity that means something to you and your family and post it. Your choices already are very worthy.

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Dave Batzdorf wrote:

This is our fifth season and we have been asked numerous times if we took donations. I politely stated "No, look at your kids in the back seat. That why we do it!"

Well for Halloween we decided that we would take donations for the town's food pantry. Extremely well received. Many folks like the idea that it stays in the community.

I guess all in all, pick a charity that means something to you and your family and post it. Your choices already are very worthy.

First year we did not take donations...but when numerous people TRIED to give me donations, we decided this year we would...

Glad we did...

Yes..our lights make the people feel good (which makes us feel good), but allowing them to donate to worthy causes, also helps them to give back and feel good in another way...

Pay it forward...
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Y'all are expressing my sentiments as well. We have a donation box and aggressively promote the fact that EVERY PENNY goes to the Food Shelf here in Clearwater. Dave is right in that many people will give very generouslly if the donations go to something worthwhile and stay in the community. That's why we chose the Food Shelf in the first place. It isn't the only worthy cause, to be sure, but it is one of the more meaningful ones. Next year, we're thinking of adding Toys for Tots. Anyone with experience on how to best maximize that?

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I have a plastic crate that is lit solid at night and a sign for our local food bank.

I have found a few dollars left in it. I guess people who left the cash did not have any food-but wanted to contribute.

Since the food bank doesn't want to deal with cash (to tempting), I took the cash and bought food with it and put it in the bin.

I made my first delivery to them today and they were very happy. They give out about 2000lbs of food each day-so it takes a lot to keep them stocked.

It feels good to help others.

I do it because I love it and like seeing other people enjoying it.

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Wow ive never even thought of putting up a donation box. ive always done my displays for the fun and the challenges. but after reading this.And living on the entrance to the "christmas on the pecos". i could prolly raise quite a penny for a good cause. ;)

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I always make sure that when they reach for their wallets I tell them that it is not required but very much appreciated. Its the faces of the little ones that keeps me doing it. Tonite, not a show nite, a limo pulls up as I was working in the driveway. The driver gets out and I meet him at the mailbox. We exchange pleasantries and he tells me that he has his girl and kids in the back. I told him that its my nite off but I would do a special show for him - go to love the Show on Demand feature!

When the show is done he and his girl shake my hand and wish me a Merry Christmas, the boys shake my hand as well and the little girl gives me a hug.

Tell me that its not worth freezing our fingers - stressing over the sequencing - running back and forth thru the yard after that one last cable - tell me now its not worth all the effort we put into it!

Merry Christmas my fellow light wizards.

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We've raised food and money for our Regional Food Bank for three years now. Last year it generated over 130,000 meals for the community. When people visiting the show found out we were doing this, the traffic went absolutely crazy, and donations keep going up and up. It's incredible.

Of course, donations are optional. We'd never require them.

Public opinion changed drastically as well. It no longer became a family showing off their lights, but rather became a huge community project for the whole city to get involved with.

And kids love to hand you cans or a few dollars too. It's quite surprising.

So the next time you feel like you might be 'prostituting yourself' by taking donations, think about the incredible opportunity you might be passing up.

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chuckd wrote:

We've raised food and money for our Regional Food Bank for three years now. Last year it generated over 130,000 meals for the community. When people visiting the show found out we were doing this, the traffic went absolutely crazy, and donations keep going up and up. It's incredible.

Of course, donations are optional. We'd never require them.

Public opinion changed drastically as well. It no longer became a family showing off their lights, but rather became a huge community project for the whole city to get involved with.

And kids love to hand you cans or a few dollars too. It's quite surprising.

So the next time you feel like you might be 'prostituting yourself' by taking donations, think about the incredible opportunity you might be passing up.



I am going to start collecting for the food bank next year. I do have an announcement saying don't forget about the food bank. A few people have said I should collect for something so food bank it is!

Now have to think of how to build something that people can put things in but can't take out....
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Perhaps a bit off topic, but you'll find that your local food bank can probably use cash a lot more than canned food. Due to the buying power of our local food bank, they can actually provide 7 meals for each dollar donated. A local petroleum company is matching private donations this year, so for each dollar we take in it provides 14 meals to the community. With that in mind, it does a heck of a lot more if somebody gives you a dollar than three cans of something that might be past its expiration date anyway.

So in addition to our food drop bin, we installed one of these:

http://www.americansecuritycabinets.com/Default.asp?Page=Product&Operation=List&ProductKey=1007&WCU=PBeVNklOR8gvGtddXwLNR0NiP291sbaR

Fortunately we have enough traffic that nobody could really steal anything without being noticed by a ton of other visitors.

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I know this might come across as a little Grinch-like, but in my situation, I prefer that the viewers stay in their cars. I considered donations the first year, but the traffic gets a little congested at times in front of my house.

I am afraid that the SOP would be to hand little Johnny or Susie a couple of dollars and tell them jump out of the car and to drop it in the donation box while Daddy keeps the car running.

I couldnt live with myself if somebody, particularly a child got hurt in front of my home.

I know that many of you might have a different traffic situation to deal with and a donation box isn't a safety issue.

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