Rotary Lights gives light, food to community - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Rotary Lights gives light, food to community

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - It's described as the most wonderful time of the year.

"It's the holidays and everybody comes out on the holidays to give and give back," said Lori Laxton, founder of the TLC Center.

But Laxton has little to give the people who come into her food pantry.

"Pantry-wise, you know, as far as canned goods, non-perishable, those types of things, we're very low," Laxton said. "I don't really think there's a whole lot on the shelves other than a few donations that we get every now and then."

She's hoping that the lights, the joy, the holiday spirit brought about by Rotary Lights will help the 1,500 people a month who visit the TLC Center's food pantry.

TLC is the Rotary Lights charity in Riverside Park Sunday night. All the evening's food donations will go to the Center.

"So, if it's a box of food tonight, wonderful. Do I think it's going to be more than a box of food? Absolutely," Laxton said.

"(It's) the spirit of the holiday, that giving spirit, and I think (the community) always comes through for us every year," said Pat Stephens, Rotary Lights president.

Stephens said in the event's opening weekend food donations are comparable to last year's.

In 2011, Rotary Lights had a banner year, raising 226,000 food items.

Stephens said he's hoping for 250,000 this time around.

"Friday, we had thousands of people down here for the opening," Stephens said. "They bundled up and came down and I guess that's what Wisconsinites do."

Something Wisconsinites do, at least here in La Crosse because Rotary Lights is putting these locals in the holiday spirit.

"Bringing community together and that's what it's all about," Laxton said.

It's a way to give back during the most wonderful time of the year.

All people who visit Rotary Lights are encouraged to bring either a non-perishable food donation or money. The items will help local charities; the money will help pay for the lights.

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