Light the Light

Father Christmas will be heading to East Sac this Sunday, Dec. 13.

The old gent will appear as part of Jericho’s Light the Light, Walk the Hope fundraiser. Revelers will gather just before dusk to sign up for a candlelight stroll through the magically decorated Fab Forties neighborhood.  Father Christmas will be there to provide toys to children, and singing groups from various organizations, churches and synagogues will serenade walkers and offer holiday treats along the way.   A good time is guaranteed, and best of all, proceeds will benefit Jericho, ‘the Voice for the Powerless.’

What is Jericho?

“Jericho [was] the first statewide interfaith non partisan, grassroots public policy organization in the nation founded specifically to educate and advocate on behalf of individuals and families living in poverty,” explains Judith Larson, Jericho’s Executive Director.   

Created by Sister Sheila Walsh in 1987, Jericho has lobbied to help the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, and low-income senior citizens. “Jericho’s purpose has been to protect the interests of those living at the economic margins in California,” says Larson.  Walsh, working with the Sisters of Social Service, tirelessly led the organization for 25 years, lobbying for legislation calling for low-income housing, healthcare for the uninsured, pre-natal care for the poor, and mental healthcare for the homeless.  

The group takes no position on hot-button social issues such as abortion, the death penalty and gay rights, focusing only on its mission of helping the less fortunate.  Sidestepping more divisive issues has allowed both liberal and conservative supporters to find common ground on a cause they can agree on.  The group’s spiritually diverse Board of Directors has included prominent names throughout the state, including Senate president Pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg.

Like many nonprofits these days, Jericho is feeling the pinch.  Drastically reduced contributions and donations have had a major impact on the organization.  In response, Jericho has begun thinking of new ways to raise funds for its mission; Light the Light, Walk the Hope, is the first event of its kind that the group has ever tried.

Larson credits Mary Wesley, president of Jericho’s Board of Directors, with the concept. “Mary Wesley… came up with the idea for the first annual walk in the fab forties while the neighborhood is spectacularly decorated with displays of holiday decorations.”   Built on the model of the successful Race For the Arts event, Light the Light encourages participants to get friends and family to sponsor their walk with donations.

Participants will gather Sunday, December 13 at 1045 45th Street in East Sac.  Sign up begins at 4:30 PM and the walk will start at about 4:45.  The entry fee for adults is $15, children are $5, and entry forms can be downloaded at Jericho’s site,  Families are encouraged to participate. Larson is quick to point out that Light the Light is a very family-friendly event.  Allow a little over an hour for the walk which will cover some of the best-decorated parts of the Fab Forties, a neighborhood that takes its holiday decorating seriously.  

That Jericho’s walk should focus on the holiday lights festooning the neighborhood is no coincidence, says Larson.  “The Light the Light walk is symbolic of the hope which Jericho promotes for those in need.”

Light the Light, Walk the Hope
4:30PM Sunday, December 13
1045 45th Street
Adults $15, children $5
More info:

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