The Strate Scapes Landscaping truck is a go this year, but the organizers aren’t sure if the Pilon Tools truck will be ready this year. Photo submitted.

The Strate Scapes Landscaping truck is a go this year, but the organizers aren’t sure if the Pilon Tools truck will be ready this year. Photo submitted.

Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks still rolling this holiday season

Organizers have adapted event and means of raising donations for pandemic

Even during the pandemic, the annual Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks will still light up the community this holiday season.

Organizers Erin and Kevin Kaetler, who run Strate Scapes Landscaping, started organizing the event about seven years ago. Last year, it went ahead on a smaller scale, and in 2020, with COVID-19 a key consideration, it will again be a little lower key. They will be driving their familiar red and green dump truck for sure, but they’re not certain if a second vehicle, the Pilon Tools truck, will be ready in time because it is currently being retrofitted. They plan on starting Saturday, Nov. 28 and expect to be out around four to five nights a week, from around about 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“We’re going to start a little bit early this year, just to get in as many weekends as we can before Christmas,” says Erin Kaetler.

They’ve also contacted RCMP about their plans and have taken steps to promote social distancing and other measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission, such as maintaining distances and wearing masks.

One of the big changes, they say, is that instead of collecting actual food donations for the local food bank this year, they will be collecting cash donations and providing a link on their Facebook page where people can donate directly to the food bank.

“We’re actually not going to collect any physical food this year,” she says. “That’ll be a harder one for people to grasp.”

This year, they would have to keep food in the truck and stored at their home until delivery to the food bank. The cash donations also bring a couple of other advantages: it allows the food bank to fill the gaps for certain types of food donations and financial donations also allow them to buy in quantity, making donations stretch a little further.

As far as the cash donations, the Kaetlers are planning on a safe means where people can make a donation at a safe distance.

Similarly, they expect to make some stops in the mall or other large parking lots but there will be no chance for people to visit the trucks as in past years. People could still be able to make a quick drive-by visit, just not stop and get out their vehicles for a look.

“In the past, we’ve gone and parked … in the mall parking lot and encouraged people to come and drop off donations,” Kaetler says. “We’re still trying to do what we can do. It’ll just look a little different.”

They plan on some neighbourhood visits in the months leading up to Christmas, but again, like other celebrations in recent months, they encourage residents to come out in their driveways for a look and a wave but at a safe distance.

“Most of our time will be spent driving through different areas of town,” Kaetler says.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks still a go

As always, the event will make stops at local seniors’ residences or for hospice residents to have a look at the truck lights. In other years, they have tried to keep a safe distance, but it’s taken on a new level of importance in 2020.

“What we’ve done in the past is there’s been no contact there, for most of them anyway,” Kaetler says.

If Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks is happening on a smaller scale, in a year that’s been tough for so many people, it becomes all the more important to find ways to spread a little seasonal cheer.

“For us, this year was more important than any other year because of how people are feeling,” she says.

The Kaetlers encourage people to keep up with the event on the Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks page on Facebook where they post updates on where they’ll be starting Nov. 28, leading up until a few days before Christmas.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Christmas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Guenther’s efforts are aimed at persons in need. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay group provides showers of chivalry for those in need

Guenther just got federal tax status for Wiseland Humanitarian Association

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

The site of the King George Hotel in Cumberland. Photo by Mike Chouinard
VIU students research Cumberland’s past, future

Specific practicum topics were King George Hotel’s significance, densification incentives

Courtenay–Alberni MP Gord Johns says 12 million Canadians do not have dental insurance. Photo by Bofu Shaw, courtesy of Unsplash
Courtenay–Alberni MP, CDA consider dental care for all Canadians

Gord Johns has initiated a mail-out that asks constituents the date of… Continue reading

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read