Leske family’s Christmas light fundraiser benefits the ‘Soupie’

Bruce Leske presents Uniting Church Soup Place coordinator Phil Crofts with a cheque for $10,000.

PERHAPS the brightest star of the festive season in Coffs Harbour is the Leske family residence on Coriedale Drive.

Bedecked with Christmas lights and twinkling decorations, the annual festive spectacle is the Leske’s creative way of fundraising for the Uniting Church’s local soup kitchen.

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Having welcomed thousands of visitors to the light show over the 2023 holidays, Bruce Leske recently presented Uniting Church Soup Place coordinator Phil Crofts with a cheque for $10,000.

“We started six years ago and raised $350 in the first year,” Bruce told News Of The Area.

“Each year we’ve thought we couldn’t beat the year before, but we do, every year.

“What started as a simple desire to spread holiday cheer six years ago turned into something much more meaningful.

“My wife, daughter and I purchase everything from our own pockets and spend many hours wrapping thousands of lucky dips to sell at our stall with all proceeds being donated.”

From the first show, the family chose to donate all monies raised to the Uniting Church’s Soup Place, which has now received over $20,000 from the Leske family’s Christmas lights fundraiser in total.

“My oldest son, Joel, told me about the Soup Place,” Bruce said.

“Through conversations we found out that they receive no government funding; they rely on the Church, and it costs around $23,000 annually to run the Soup Place.”

Fuelled by the year-on-year growth in donations, Bruce is ever keen to start setting up the decorations, beginning as early as September; liaising closely with his daughter Joanne.

Working in the evenings and at weekends to set up, the official start of the light show is December 1 each year.

“We encourage people to park and walk around the garden and look at everything in detail,” said Bruce, “you really can’t see everything if you just drive by.”

Every year the attention builds through word of mouth.

Families from all corners of Coffs Harbour gather to witness the spectacle and, in the spirit of giving, open their hearts and wallets to support those in need.

Visitors donate cash, purchase lucky dips, toys, lollies, and drinks, all with the goal of raising funds for the local soup kitchen.

In thanking everyone who supported the light show, Phil Crofts said, “The overwhelming success of this community initiative exemplifies the strength and compassion of Coffs Harbour residents.

“The generosity displayed by those who visited the light display not only illuminated the streets, but also brightened the future for those less fortunate in our community.

“On average, it costs us $1.60 to provide a meal for a person in need so this donation will help us to provide over 6,200 meals this year,” said Phil.

The Leske family extend their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to this remarkable effort.


The Leske family’s creative Christmas display serves as a fundraiser for a local soup kitchen.

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