Sanford community decorating neighborhood to bring some Christmas joy to flood victims

It’s called the Sanford Shines project and it is allowing people and groups to decorate and place a Christmas tree around a neighborhood in town.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 3:07 PM EST
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SANFORD, Mich. (WJRT) - Months after flooding destroyed many homes and businesses in Sanford, the community is rallying together to decorate one of those destroyed neighborhoods this holiday season with the hopes of bringing some Christmas joy to the people impacted by this year’s disaster.

It’s called the Sanford Shines project and it is allowing people and groups to decorate and place a Christmas tree around a neighborhood in town. The trees are being set up along Cedar, E. Main, and S. Center streets in Sanford and people will be able to look at all of the decorations in a drive-thru fashion.

Dolores Porte, the president of the Village of Sanford, said that the goal of this project is to bring some light back to the community that was devastated by the floods.

“We’re trying to light up a neighborhood that was darkened by the flood that washed away people’s homes,” Porte said. “This was their place of joy and activity. This was a lively, vibrant neighborhood and we don’t want people to think they’ve been forgotten.”

More than 40 trees will be set up and decorated by people who used to live in the neighborhood, by businesses and churches, and by some of the groups that came in to to help after the flood.

“These Christmas trees are coming from the community who are pouring out their heart to Sanford,” Porte said. “A lot of people just wanting to show their love for Sanford.”

Many of the trees are being decorated in themes. Some of them in sports themes like the one’s from the Sanford Youth League and Meridian Competitive Cheer team. The Jerome Township Fire Department’s tree is set up with firetrucks and a fireman’s uniform. The Sanford Lake Association decorated its tree with some of the lost items that were found at the dams.

The Team Hatfield tree is decorated with some of the tools and fans used during the flood clean up.

The trees are being set up through the end of the week. On Friday, there will be a community lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. with the Magic of Christmas. The Northern Lights Train will bring Santa and Mrs. Claus to Sanford to light the community tree.

Porte said that she hopes that the people who come out to see the decorations will get a sense of what Sanford is really all about.

“I hope they get that we’re a village of people who are resilient and rallying for each other,” she said. “And that we have a huge community. Not just in the Mid-Michigan area but all over the state who are contributing to this event, and still making contributions to families for Christmas. And there’s a whole lot of community happening around the Village of Sanford and we want people to know that we love them and we appreciate the love they’re showing us.”

There is a Sanford Shines Facebook page that has been set up to share some more information.

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