Letter: Buddies celebrate the holidays with gingerbread houses

The Buddy Program’s third annual Gingerbread House Workshop, hosted by Helen DeFrance and Jim Fifield and presented by Nancy and Richard Rogers, was held Sunday afternoon at The Little Nell. One hundred forty Buddies plus many more volunteers gathered for a sugar-fueled afternoon of creative energy, decorating a gingerbread house in their style and taking it home to kick off the holiday season. Thanks to generous individuals and business sponsors, the event was free for all, and more than $65,000 was raised for the Buddy Program.

The Buddy Program extends its sincere thanks to Helen and Jim for hosting this event. The joy in the room was palpable as more than 140 Buddies decorated more than 75 houses under Helen’s expert guidance! High school Big Buddies from our Peer-to-Peer Program volunteered to help distribute candy and decorate gingerbread houses. We are also indebted to Simon Chen, Pete Hayda and all of the staff at The Little Nell, which generously donated the space, supplies and labor; to Tony Mazza for donating wine from his fantastic Bodega Chacra winery; and to master sommelier Carlton McCoy for arranging a special tour of the Nell’s private, 22,000-bottle wine cellar during our sponsor reception.

This event is one of the largest Buddy Pair activities and our second-largest fundraiser, second only to the Bash for the Buddies (July 7 back at Boogie’s!), thanks to the generous support of our individual and corporate donors and table sponsors. Special thanks to this year’s table sponsors: Pam Alexander; Madeleine Morrison and Charles Bellock; Charles Cunniffe Architects; Susan Hostetiler and Don Drapkin; Adam Goldsmith; the Gorsuch family; Lorrie Wright-LaRose and Tim LaRose; Laurie and Paul MacCaskill; Mona Look-Mazza and Tony Mazza; Carolyn Powers; Kathy Ross and David Houggy; Angie and Gary Stewart; and Billy Stolz.

Thank you to all who supported this event! This was truly a community effort, and we are very thankful for the funds that were raised to benefit the Buddy Program’s four youth-mentoring programs — a wonderful and exciting way to end another fantastic year here at the Buddy Program!

David Houggy

Executive director, Buddy Program