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Family food fight challenge reached, but collection continues
The (light) show’s not over

Family food fight challenge reached, but collection continues


The second year of the York vs. Wymore family light fight is underway. The Christmas lights decorating home of Bill and Christi Payne are impressive (as shown here), but even more impressive is the generosity of both communities.

YORK – Year two of the family food feud has far surpassed last year’s efforts, Christmas lights being beacons for benevolence.

The holiday food drive showdown pitting York residents Bill and Christi Payne against Bill’s sister-in-law, Lori Lovell of Wymore, is bigger than ever with a challenge to reach 1,000 pounds of food first.

Lovell brought her “A” game, already reaching the 1,000 pound mark. However, that doesn’t mean the challenge is over. The Payne’s will be collecting nonperishable food items until the New Year, a red drop box specifically for donations in front of their house on 1221 Ohio Ave.

The red box is hard to miss, but coupled with the Payne’s elaborate light display there’s no mistaking where to bring contributions. For years the house on Ohio has boasted lights flashing in coordination with music (last year was a Bruno Mars tune). The Payne’s display has also doubled as a food donation drop-off point for a few years, typically collecting an average of 150-180 pounds of food each year. 2019 was the first year of the friendly family feud, which garnered donations beyond previous years’ average. Team Payne won by a smidge last year, falling short in 2020. “She was ready for us this year,” Bill said.

The food drive caught the twinkling eye of a holiday celebrity. Santa Claus, so wowed by people’s generosity and the brilliant light display will be at the Payne’s light site 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 19. The man in red asks that visitors young and young-at-heart maintain social distancing and wear masks – the more festive, the better.

While the Payne’s didn’t hit the 1,000 pound goal first, the generosity of the York community is nothing to sneeze at. Area businesses offering matching funds, plus several hundred dollars worth of gift certificates will help purchase perishable foodstuffs like meat and dairy. Donations will stay in the community, as donations both physical and monetary will go to Blue Valley Community Action of York.

As collecting continues, Bill has the meaning of the challenge – and the holidays – in mind. “Don’t get me wrong – I’m competitive to a fault, but people are getting fed,” he said. “That’s what matters.”


Find fun Facebook posts documenting the Payne’s sparkling light display and their accompanying food drive on the Lights on Ohio Facebook group.

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