Family Centers' annual Hope Lights Lives luminary project is under way. Volunteers across Fairfield County are selling luminary kits in preparation for the event's multitown lighting. With more than 5,000 luminary kits sold each year, Hope Lights Lives -- Family Centers' annual fundraiser to benefit the Center for HOPE and The Den for Grieving Kids -- has grown to into a holiday tradition.

On Sunday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m., hundreds of New Canaan, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, Norwalk, Rowayton, Southport, Stamford, Weston and Wilton residents will adorn their lawns with special luminaries. In addition to creating a festive display, the luminaries are also meant to honor loved ones who have died or are coping with a critical illness.

More than 75 "block captain" volunteers around New Canaan have garnered fellow neighbors to participate by purchasing a $25 luminary kit containing 12 tea light candles, 12 white paper bags and 12 plastic candle holders. Next Sunday, participants will light their property lines with the tea candles, symbolic beacons of hope for community members living with an illness or grieving the loss of a loved one.

Stephanie Radman, in her fifth year with the campaign, is the Weed Street block captain.

"It's a great way to gather all the communities together in Fairfield County. It's a wonderful symbol for hope. It's just a wonderful thing to see and it brings so much happiness," she said. "In fact we know many people in New Canaan who drive around town just to see all the lights on that Sunday. They love the way it looks but I also think they appreciate the message behind it."

Still, with a tough economy Radman says it has gotten harder to sell kits but she is hopefully the message presented by the campaign will be convincing enough for potential donors and if that does not work, then she counts on the lights to do their magic.

"We're just a community that is so connected and so willing to give that I know we will do great," she added. "We lit up our whole corner and I can't tell you how many people were stopping by to say how wonderful it is. To know that money is going to help so many people in so many different ways is amazing."

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While the official lighting takes place a week later, "Luminary Week" begins on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. with a public displays at Binney Park in Old Greenwich and Tilley Pond in Darien. Luminary kits are also available for purchase online at www.familycenters.org.

Hope Lights Lives is sponsored by The Cashmere Sale, Hoffman Landscapes, Swimm Pool & Patio, Yankee Candle, Webster Bank, Keno Graphics and Patriot National Bank.