The Christmas Village needs some help.
Odlum Brown’s Christmas Village is an annual fundraising campaign for local charities, involving the creation and auctioning off of themed gingerbread houses and stuffed animals.
This year’s event, the 14th annual, is already up and running, at Crown Isle Resort. The silent auction continues until Dec. 17.
This year’s four charities are Comox Valley Boys & Girls Club, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, Salvation Army Family Services and the Comox Valley Child Development Association.
Presently there are 40 houses and stuffed toys on display, which is a marked drop from the last few years.
“Last year we had 69; the year before that we had 83,” said Mary Ruth Harris, of the organizing committee.
Harris said there are a few likely reasons for the drastic drop in entries.
“I have been working the phones and following up with people, and there’s (a few) things that are going on,” she said. “One response is ‘oh, it’s Christmas already?’ That’s part of it. But other people are just already (committed). It’s just a bad year.”
She said that there is added demand for the charity dollar this year.
“And not just locally. We’re talking worldwide. There’s the Syrian crisis, that people are looking at putting resources toward, which wasn’t a factor last year – maybe it should have been, but it wasn’t… I also think part of it is donor fatigue.”
Local businesses are pitching in to make it as easy as possible to build a creation. Slegg Lumber donates all the boards for the gingerbread house frames. Those are available at Odlum Brown. And Canadian Tire provides the stuffed animals.
“It used to be just teddy bears but this year they got a shipment of stuffies that is more than just bears,” said Harris. “There are monkeys, pandas, puppy dogs – all kinds of neat things. And they are all about 36 inches tall, so they are big enough to put size three or four clothing on. So they are quite fun (to dress up).”
Participants will create either a themed gingerbread house, or a themed stuffed animal (i.e. a bear in a bathing suit, with gift certificates to the aquatic centre), and those creations will be on display until Dec. 17, when the silent auction concludes.
Entry fees to participate are $25 for stuffies, $10 for a child gingerbread house, $25 for an adult and $100 for a commercial entry.
“That money all goes into the pot. Then there are prizes for each category,” said Harris, who said she will accept entries right up until the final day of the silent auction.
“I won’t turn anyone down,” she said. “They can drop it off even at midnight on the 16th. There is always somebody at the front desk and I will be there first thing in the morning on the 17th.”
For more information, or to participate in the Odlum Brown Christmas Village, call Harris at 250-650-7575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org