Tis the season of giving, and this year, Ewing Irrigation, Seasonal Source and three professional holiday lighting contractors in Bend, Ore., partnered to help brighten the holidays of those enduring hardship, for Light Up Bend—a friendly, holiday lighting competition.
Holiday Help, Fireside Lighting and Christmas Lights R Us all donated their time and expertise to install holiday lights on Saturday, November 7, at three local nonprofits: Bethlehem Inn, a homeless shelter; Shepard’s House, an alcoholism treatment program; and Cascade Youth & Family Center, a social services organization.
Brennan Morrow, owner and operator of Christmas Lights R Us, created Light Up Bend. The event took shape when Morrow contacted Ewing’s South Bend store, which supplies his company’s holiday lighting materials. Ewing and holiday lighting vendor Seasonal Source secured donations, and two more local installers agreed to donate their time and labor to help install displays.
Competing to install holiday lights
Each team had four hours to design and install a holiday lights display using the same amount of products, which sparked a friendly competition to see who could complete the installation first. The rivalry among the teams was also piqued with a bit of mystery: the teams were assigned a location at random, and weren’t told what products they would install until the day of the event.
As the challenge got underway, the day was quickly filled with high spirits, joy, and most of all, laughter. “I am very excited to be doing this to lift up our spirits. This time of year, we are rolling out thousands of lights and start to get tired, but doing this reminds me and my guys why we hang lights in the first place—to bring light to people’s lives,” Brennan said.
Fireside Lighting, owned by Robert Ray, had the smallest crew of two installers, yet managed to keep up with the other teams. “I feel like we did really well,” Ray said. “We put up as many lights as we could, and made this place look awesome. I hope it will bring joy to many.”
Endeavoring to bring light to others
In the true spirit of the holiday season, once the teams completed their assigned installations, they all came together and worked hand-in-hand to decorate a fourth location, Grandma’s House, a homeless and transitional shelter for pregnant and parenting teen mothers and their babies.
This location was the source of inspiration for the event, as Christmas Lights R Us donates their time and materials every year in an effort to brighten the lives of Grandma’s House residents.
“In the first year of having outdoor decorations of any kind, we didn’t fully understand that it was so much more than just the beauty of the lights,” said Woody Medeiros, Grandma’s House executive director. “It brings light to their heart.”
Eric Cole, owner of Holiday Help, said, “I hope that these lights will touch one kid or person and lift their spirits this year. I really enjoyed working with Robert and Brennan at Grandma’s House, and it made me realize that this isn’t just about Christmas lights.”
A rewarding experience
Four thousand dollars’ worth of lights were donated, but the work of these three dedicated crews was priceless. The efforts put forth by all those involved helped to create lovely displays on buildings that assist those in our society that might be overlooked. Everyone agreed that this was one of the most rewarding things they have done all year, and they look forward to doing it again.
With your help, the Light Up Bend event will get bigger and better with more volunteers, lights and fun, to make Bend a little brighter!