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Christmas lights and a food drive at the Thompsons
Annual display intended to brighten holidays for families in need
Roy Thompson
    It's a two-for-one deal: spend a part of your evening enjoying one of Statesboro's most unique Christmas displays, and help a needy family by donating nonperishable food.
    Roy and Deborah Thompson love Christmas, and they love helping people. That's why the couple decided to add something meaningful to their annual Christmas invitation to the public to drive through their property and enjoy the holiday lights, sculptures and displays. They erected a booth with a sign reading "Together We Can Help: Food Drop Off." Then, they purchased advertisements letting people know they could donate food items to be given to the needy as they pass through.
    "You don't have to look very far to find somebody who is hungry," Roy Thompson, Bulloch County commissioner, said. "You never realize that kind of stuff is going on right next to you.”
    So far, more than 2,000 people have visited the Thompson's Christmas fantasy land, located on Old River Road North. Thompson has a counter recording each visit. So far, the food collection is going well, but he hopes more people will come enjoy his family's efforts at spreading Christmas spirit, and will drop off nonperishable food for those who need it.
    The recipient will be a single mother of three living in the Portal area. The woman, whom Thompson has never met but has spoken to by phone, will keep some of the goods and distribute the rest to other needy families in a low-income neighborhood near Portal, he said.
    The collection efforts will go through Christmas "until they quit giving," he said.
    Some donors have left money with the Thompsons, and that will be used to buy meat for the families, he said.
    Saturday night will be extra-special at the Thompson's, because Santa and Mrs. Claus are expected to drop by. There will be Christmas music and " a family atmosphere," he said.
    In order to reach the Thompson's home - which will have spectacular lighting, sculptures, decorations and  other attractions - take Lakeview Road 10 miles north of Statesboro to the intersection with Old River Road. Turn left, and travel 4.3 miles until you notice the holiday lights at the Thompson's. Turn left through the wooden archway and drive on through, he said. And, don't forget canned goods, boxed pasta, or other nonperishable foods for those less fortunate than most.

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