Fairfax light display raises money for the Linn Community Food Bank

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 7:12 PM CST
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FAIRFAX, Iowa (KCRG) - One family in Fairfax wants to help others even more in 2020 because of the pandemic and the derecho damage in this unforgettable year.

Steve and Sandy Tomash have a Christmas display so large even Santa comes to visit on occasion. It’s a tradition that has gone on at their current home for 15 years, but this is the first year their display will raise money for a food bank.

“Everyone needs food and with people being laid off and not having the money we just thought that would reach not only children but people of all ages,” Sandy said.

Their yard is sprinkled with handmade characters Steve has made from “Frozen” and “The Grinch.” He’s unsure just how many lights he uses but he says there are around 400 extension cords involved.

The Tomash’s don’t usually take donations of any kind for their display. But, between the pandemic and the derecho, they decided this year they could use the display to give back. There is a donation box out front and every penny people contribute will be given to the Linn Community Food Bank in Cedar Rapids.

Leaders there say they’ve seen an increase in need. They used to give food to 20-30 people per day, but, lately, it’s been more like 50. Monday through Friday, they’re giving out groceries from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot at the First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Street SE, no questions asked.

The Tomash’s chose this food bank because it’s run fully by volunteers.

“Even their directors are volunteers. So we know all the money people give us to donate to somewhere will be 100% paid off for the food for the people,” Steve said.

The food bank is more than grateful for the help.

“Oh, it’s great because then we can provide extra things. We get a lot of our things from HACAP through the Feeding America program and anything that we can’t get from them we would subsidize with all our donations,” Jane Suiter, president of Linn Community Food Bank, said.

Suiter said while they’ve seen more of a need, the food bank has also seen a lot of people step up to donate. In the first five days of collecting donations, the Tomash’s have raised $250.

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