Gatchells’ bright holiday spirit pays off for food pantry

The Gatchells' annual holiday display delighted Islanders and helped stock the Island Food Pantry. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Gatchell family’s holiday extravaganza on County Road in Oak Bluffs has become a well-visited landmark. The annual Christmas display has grown to include more than 20,000 lights, a flying reindeer, candy canes, talking Santas, a toy train, choir singers, penguins, a homemade igloo and a 40-year-old nativity set.

And it is all for a good cause. On Wednesday afternoon, Robert Gatchell delivered more than 28 cases of assorted food items to the Island Food Pantry, along with checks totaling more than $1,000.

The display serves as the centerpiece of an annual food drive for the Island Food Pantry. “It was the best year ever,” Mr. Gatchell told The Times on Tuesday.

He received 1,400 pounds of food, according to the scales at Carroll’s Trucking. There was so much food that he needed extra boxes. Mike Carroll of Carroll’s trucking, one of many people who helped out, donated more cartons, he said.

Mr. Gatchell said he encouraged people to park their vehicles and walk around his yard rather than just slowly drive by the display. “I think that helped a lot,” he said of the surge in donations.