2018 TOUR OF HOMES – RAIN OR SHINE, IT WAS A WONDERFUL TIME

Capping off another successful year, the 2018 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes raised more than $30,000 for the Virginia-Highland Civic Association. Every year we’re reminded of what an incredible neighborhood ours is to call home, and this year was no different! Seven generous neighbors opened up their homes to more than 1,700 visitors over the weekend of December 1st and 2nd, showcasing their art, furnishings, and renovations, as well of some of the neighborhoods favorite restaurants. Despite one day of heavy rain, more than 170 volunteers came out to showcase wonderful homes from across Virginia-Highland. Luckily, Sunday brought beautiful weather – and with it a record number of visitors. 

Raising more than $380,000 for the neighborhood over the last six years, the Tour of Homes is a true community effort. We’d like to thank, first and foremost, our homeowners for hosting this year’s tour. We couldn’t have done it without YOU! We’re also very grateful to our advertising and restaurant partners who continue to be so generous each year. Many thanks to those who volunteered throughout the weekend and to our house captains who managed volunteers at each home.

The Tour of Homes Committee works all year long to put together an outstanding event. We’d like to thank each of them for their efforts:

  • Home Selection: Jeannie Lightsey (Co-Chair), Robin Ragland (Co- Chair), Pam Bullock, Julie Farmer, and Mary Hallenberg
  • Public Relations:  Kitsy Rose PR
  • Restaurants: JoAnn Zyla (Chair), Alison Hutton, and Robin Ragland
  • Volunteers: Brittany Thacher (Co- Chair), Meghan Pendergast Dean (Co-Chair), Elanor Barrineau, and Karen Murphree
  • Graphic Design: Lori Z Joslyn
  • Website: Centner Consulting
  • Tour Operations:  Sean Davey, Cherry Frederick, and Holle Gilbert
  • Signage and Flocking: Cherry Frederick

Last but not least, thank you to Robin Ragland for dedicating your time for the last six years as Tour of Homes Chair. Your hard work and dedication are invaluable and we’re grateful to have you as our neighbor!

If you really enjoyed this year’s Tour and want to be part of an important fundraising effort for our neighborhood, please note that the 25th annual Tour of Homes will be held December 7-8, 2019. We’d love to have you join our team! Or, maybe you’d like your home featured on next year’s tour? It’s a great way to connect with neighbors and finish up that list of projects around the house! For details on how to get involved, contact Chase Johnson at chasevhca@gmail.com.

Contributed by Chase Johnson

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Sponsor a Family in Need for the Holidays!

Are you interested in ‘sponsoring’ a family in need this holiday season? In Atlanta, DFCS reports that, this year, there are more families than ever who are in need of some of the most basic items such as food, clothing, etc. I work with DFCS each year to obtain a list of families who would like to be matched with a sponsor. For those of you who have never done this, it can be a great / meaningful experience.

Sponsoring a family is easy to do, can provide a personalized giving experience, and is a great educational/ volunteer opportunity to share with children.

You have a choice to either deliver the basket personally to your assigned family or drop it off at a DFCS warehouse and have it delivered for you.

All you need to do is:

1. Email me back (lindabrenner@mac.com) and tell me how many families you’d like to sponsor. Specify large or small and I’ll try my best to match you accordingly (feel free to sponsor a large family with another group / friends.)

2. I will then send you specifics about your sponsor family (number of people, ages, address/phone, and wish list – if available)

3. Call the family, let them know that you are their holiday sponsor and confirm the information you’ve been given about them. Let them know that you are planning on purchasing a few items for them. You may choose to be direct and ask what kinds of groceries or small gifts they’d most like. Or, you can simply let them know that you’ll be bringing by some surprises based on the information that you were given. Arrange a mutually convenient time to drop off your basket at the family’s home – or let me know that their basket will be delivered to them. (Regardless of what a family requests, you should buy what you’re comfortable buying.)

4. Put together a basket / box (or a big plastic tub that they can re-use is a good option) with as many food and/or gift items that you feel comfortable giving. A gift card (in any amount) to either Publix or Kroger is a good idea instead of (or in addition to) other items. Make a holiday card for the family.

5. Deliver between now and Christmas. If you want to drop it off at DFCS so they can deliver, let me know and plan on doing that by mid-December.

Note – baskets should not include second hand/used clothing or toys. (If you have women’s/children’ s clothing or supplies that you want to get rid of – I can connect you with one of several organizations nearby which are in constant need of such things.)

PLEASE send this message to friends or co-workers who also might like to participate – there are many, many families in need – so the more, the better.

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Here are some comments from some of the folks who have done this in the past:

<<I just wanted to thank you for arranging the holiday sponsoring
program this year. I dropped off the family’s stuff yesterday and it
was a very moving experience. The young girl (with two little kids)
was very sweet and appreciative and she definitely needed our help.
The only gifts under the tree were from our family and we increased
the food items in her kitchen by about 20-fold! >>

<<I wanted to let you know that I dropped off gifts for my host family
last Saturday. It was a mother and daughter and they were very nice
and appreciative. I included a $20 publix gift card so that they can
pick something out themselves. Thanks for arranging this!>>

<<We dropped our gifts and food off on Sunday and the family was very
appreciative. The overall experience was good for our family and made
us realize once again how fortunate we are. I wish we would have
done more, but not having done this before I just wasn’t sure what to
do and what to expect. I think the next time I would add other items
to the gifts, such as books for the 7 year old and probably more
food. Thank you so much for coordinating this and we will definitely
do this again.>>

<<My little 4 year old and I delivered our basket to our family this
past Saturday. The mother in turn gave us a thoughtful card and two
candy canes. She met us at her apartment and she welcomed us with
hugs. The whole experience was wonderful.>>

<<We just returned from delivering our basket. We took our two
children (5 and 2) as a Channukah ‘good deed’ activity – and it was
great. They had two little girls so the kids played while we talked
to the mother. They had a very small apartment and no gifts in
sight. Even though the mother was quiet and reserved, I could tell
she was really happy and appreciative. It’s got to be hard to be in
that situation! Thanks for arranging it and put us on the list for
next year.>>

Thank you and happy holidays!

Article contributed by Linda Brenner
lindabrenner@mac.com

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