Van Buren in need of donations after flood destroys Christmas decorations

VAN BUREN, MO (KFVS) – Original Post

While many people are focused on Thanksgiving coming up, the town of Van Buren is scrambling to get ready for Christmas after The Spring Food destroyed all of their decorations.

Van Buren’s annual Festival of Lights is held on December 1 this year in The Courthouse Square.

“To drive through town is not what it used to be, and we need it back,” said event organizer Emily Sellinger.

All of the Christmas lights, ornaments, wreathes and trimmings stored in the courthouse – washed away.

“They were stored inside the building, and then six foot of water inside the courthouse. Flooded everything. All of our wreaths.. everything that we had that we planned on using this year got ruined,” said presiding Carter County Co missioner Don Black.

The Festival of Lights could go dark this year.

“It was very upsetting. We worked very hard last year. With all the time and energy put into it to know that all the lights were gone, and everything’s going to have to be redone is just – it’s going to be a struggle, but I think we can do it,” said volunteer Nickie Rymer.

Event organizers said they need your help to bring a light to Downtown Van Buren.

“We need lights. It is the festival of lights, so the more lights the better. Last year as we decorated we heard over and over as more people became involved that it was like a Hallmark Movie, and I really feel that, and we could use it this year especially for our flood ravaged town,” Sellinger said.

“We don’t have a budget to do this. The county does not have any funds to donate to this, so it’s going to be strictly donations,” Black said.

Which is what they say the Christmas spirit is all about.

“The joy on their face. The hot chocolate in their hands. The Santa visits…,” Sellinger said.

“Everybody lost so much. It seems like Christmas is just a new day. It gives you a lot of hope,” Black said.

Hope for this Christmas and many more to come.

“We want people here to be able to come back to town and feel the love again. We are a small community, and the flood can’t take that away from us,” Sellinger said.

If you would like to give Christmas lights or decorations please send donations or items to P.O. Box 517, Van Buren, MO. 63965

The event is free and expected to draw over 1,000 people.

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