Trumbull holiday light display raises $4,600 for social services

TRUMBULL — Though the holidays are over, residents of a Trumbull neighborhood are continuing to spread cheer and goodwill through a donation to the town's social services department.

For the second year in a row, residents on Sterling Road and the surrounding area lit up their homes for Christmas in the hopes of raising both spirits and cash. The project, known to many as Santa's Runway, raised about $4,600 for Trumbull Social Services, which includes the food bank and other programs that offer assistance to those in need.

But not only does the project help other Trumbull residents, it's also just a fun holiday event, said Joe McDonald, one of the event organizers.

"The fundraising is great but it’s kind of this great community event that’s generated a lot of support," he said.

The Santa's Runway project actually started in 2020 and was the brainchild of another neighbor, Zoli Szabo, who thought the light display might boost locale morale, which had taken a hit in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. That year, about 18 households participated.

In 2021, the number expanded to roughly 60 households, and McDonald suggested adding the fundraising aspect. Throughout the neighborhood, homeowners posted signs with a QR code that people could use to access a GoFundMe page to donate to social services.

During the most recent Santa's runway project, about 80 households participated in the project, and six local businesses signed on as sponsors, including Plasko's Farm, Fryborg and others.

Szabo said the enterprise has injected a lot of joy into the region at the holidays, and has made the Sterling Road area a destination for many people, including those outside Trumbull.

"It seems to bring smiles to everybody's faces," Szabo said. "I think it’s raised property value on our street because everyone wants to move here now."

Social services director Michele Jakab echoed those thoughts. She said, though she's grateful that social services is the recipient of the funds raised through Santa's Runway, the project itself is already a gift to the community.

"It’s more than just local event — it’s something for everybody to do," she said. "Who doesn’t like driving around seeing Christmas lights?"

Though the Santa's Runway fundraising drive is done for the season, McDonald said those who still wish to donate to social services can contact the department directly at 203-452-5198.