Community comes together for annual Lights of Hope event

November 16, 2020

Motorists traveling by Cheshire Academy on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 14, likely saw a unique setting: luminaries, white bags filled with sand and one lit candle inside, lining the footpaths and throughways of the campus. 

Originating in 2005 as a neighborhood fundraiser for the Cheshire Relay for Life event, co-founders Jenifer and Don Walsh continue to host the annual Cheshire’s Lights of Hope program to give back to a variety of organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Cheshire Food Pantry. 

One of the nonprofit recipients is the Petit Family Foundation, which holds a personal meaning for the CA community. On July 23, 2007, Cheshire Academy nurse and co-director of the Richmond Health Center Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela Petit, were murdered in a home invasion that devastated the CA and local communities. 

Every year, the CA community comes together to both remember and honor the Petit family, and to fundraise for Lights of Hope by decorating the school campus with luminaries. For 2020, hundreds of luminaries adorned the main quad spelling out the word “Hope” inside of a heart shape. 

CA students also volunteer with Lights of Hope off campus by unloading truckloads of luminary kits, as well as creating packages for purchase and delivery to local neighborhoods. 

Click here to view additional photos from this year’s Lights of Hope event.