Local nonprofit Lights for Linda Luminarias (L4LL) founder Nancy Sanker and volunteers are preparing for a holiday event that began seven years ago in the SummerGrove community.
The annual ceremony tradition includes participating homes throughout the Coweta neighborhood lighting paper lanterns (luminarias) on Christmas Eve. The symbolic tradition honors those suffering from cancer and other difficult and debilitating diseases and conditions, as well as those who care for them.
Sanker established the organization in honor of her sister, Linda McGrenaghan, who lost a 19-year battle with leukemia.
“The lighting of the luminaries tradition originated from the biblical story of Mary and Joseph,” Sanker explained. “The lanterns are meant to light the way for the birth of Jesus. The luminarias have become our way of lighting the path to a cure for cancer, and are a twinkling salute to loving caregivers.”
Each year, Sanker, along with friends, family and volunteers, sell kits which include eight paper lanterns and, in 2015, the group added a new item to be sold in addition to the kits: holiday/greeting cards. The standard-sized cards feature an image of luminaries aglow in a SummerGrove neighborhood.
One-hundred percent of proceeds from both cards and luminarias will be given directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. L4LL has raised more than $23,000 for research, support and educational programs.
“We are pleased to announce that we are supplying luminarias to the Newnan Presbyterian Preschool Christmas Tour of Homes on December 3,” Sanker said. “The event includes five homes in the historic district and will fund several projects including building a playground for the younger children of the school.”
Luminaria kits include eight luminary bags, eight long-burning candles, sand and instructions for a suggested tax-deductible donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and can be purchased for $20. Greeting card packs include five cards with matching white envelopes for $20. A bundle which includes both luminarias and cards can also be purchased for $35.
All purchases, donations and inquiries can be sent to L4LL at LightsforLinda@gmail.com. For purchases, include a name and details of the order. Credit cards are now accepted and items can be picked up and paid for on the following days: Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at SummerGrove Town Hall, 355 SummerGrove Parkway and Dec. 12 from 3 to 7 p.m. at 55 Lakeshore Drive in SummerGrove.
Sanker noted that the goal for 2016 is $7,000.
“We look forward to even more glow this year,” Sanker said. “The kind of glow that looks so beautiful throughout the neighborhood, and the internal glow that comes from the joy of giving.”