HUGO — One residential development in Hugo has really spruced up its holiday decorations — not only to spread the joy of the season, but to assist the local food shelf.
Chris DuFresne, president of the Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf, is one of the masterminds behind the effort within Adelaide Landing, located north of 130th Street and immediately east of Hwy. 61 in Hugo.
“My wife, Amie, and I were trying to think of something to do for the holidays that could give people something to do during the season that is safe with the pandemic going on,” he explained.
DuFresne said that last Easter, they challenged their neighbors to find all 12 eggs scattered throughout their neighborhood. After finding each egg, participants had to scan a QR code that would direct them to a trivia question. The first person to find all 12 eggs won an Amazon gift card.
“The neighborhood had a blast, so we thought about ways to make it work for the Christmas season,” he said. “We posted on our neighborhood Facebook page to see if people would be interested, and we had a resounding response.”
Jason Strate and his wife, Sarah, decided to participate in the neighborhood holiday decorating project because it seemed like a great opportunity to “be obnoxious” with their yard. Jason said he wanted to decorate around the theme “Die Hard” so he could convince everyone that it really is a Christmas movie. After
Sarah told him no blood or guts could be involved, however, he knew he had to go back to the drawing board. A Buddy the Elf decoration from the movie “Elf” inspired him to decorate around a new theme.
Rudi Destics and his wife, Errin, also decided to participate because they needed some cheer. “It has been a long, trying and difficult year for many of us ... I lost my father this year, so we needed some joy in our lives,” Rudi explained.
Rudi added that as a child, he always enjoyed driving around with his family to see the different Christmas displays. “I’ve always put lights on our house; however, this year was just different. We wanted to do more — we wanted to bring joy to our kids who have been forced to be without friends and classmates, and joy to our community as well. I wanted children to make great memories with their families much like mine.” The Hugo family’s decorations are centered around the movie “Home Alone.”
All 27 homes that are participating have decorations that revolve around a Christmas movie or song. Each home has a sign out front with a QR code that visitors can scan with their phones. That QR code will not only bring up a trivia question and a video clue as to what the theme is, but also a link to donate to the food shelf (www.hugofoodshelf.org/give).
“Food shelves are struggling with the increased demand, and this is a fun way to try to raise funds for them,” Strate said.
DuFresne said the food shelf has distributed well over 91,000 pounds of food in 2020, which is an increase of 18%. He suspects that need to continue to grow with the ending of some unemployment benefits and the loss of CARES Act funds. As of November, the food shelf had served 880 households, which equates to 2,465 individuals.
One thing is for certain: --Adelaide Landing, which is still adding new homes, will never be dark around the holidays.
“This is our first year doing it, and I think it will only get bigger and better over the coming years,” Destics said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a few Griswolds in the neighborhood.”
Strate added, “The builders have about 20 more houses sold that should come in next year, so we’ll probably have more participants. And a lot of us are already planning for the things we couldn’t get together for this year.”
Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or email@example.com.