A Sherwood real estate broker is once again providing a festive Christmas cottage for children while also supporting local businesses during the continuing pandemic.
For the second year in a row, Gardner Team Real Estate has created its free Santa's Front Porch for children to visit and look inside the workshop, which doubles as the company's business, at 16227 S.W. First St. in Sherwood.
The porch will feature 10 festive attractions that includes a peek into Santa's workshop. There is also a toy chute run by workshop elves, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As part of the holiday spirit, the real estate company also will be helping small businesses around the city still suffering from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
"In an effort to make a bigger impact when helping these 'mom-and-pops' out there, we have selected via a random process, five restaurants and five retail/entertainment type locally owned options this season," said Amber Gardner, who along with husband Jason owns Gardner Team Real Estate.
Plans are to host several fundraising events such as selling both holiday baskets for children and sponsorships from essential businesses, proceeds that will be used to purchase numerous $25 gift cards from those businesses.
"All of those gift cards will be placed into a huge gift card drawing, returning all of them back to the community where we will have thousands of dollars worth of cards to give away amongst a multitude of winners," said Gardner.
By the week of Thanksgiving, Gardner's business had already raised $6,000, with an additional $1,600 in gift cards already on hand as part of a Secret Santa category.
Businesses benefiting from the gift card purchase will include Mason Restaurant, Mudpuddle Toys and Books, Sawatdee Thai Cuisine, Langer's Entertainment Center, Clancy's Pub and Restaurant, Cedar and Stone Mercantile LLC, Generations Bar & Grill, Nature's Pet, Komo Sushi and Red Berry Barn.
Meanwhile, children who write letters to Santa and drop them on the porch's big red mailbox (providing the man in red with a return address) can expect a response. Letters will be accepted through Dec. 19.
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