As you stroll through Reston Town Center this holiday season, don’t miss the spectacular gingerbread village inside the Hyatt hotel lobby. This confectionary masterpiece delights local families every year, with several buildings created out of real gingerbread, candy, and frosting, and a train moving throughout the village. You can learn more about the process of creating this village in our previous behind-the-scenes article.
What you might not know is that this gingerbread village is a charity fundraiser. Every year, the pastry chefs of the Hyatt work long hours to create this holiday display and collect donations for a local non-profit. This year the donations will be provided to Kids R First, a Reston-based charity that provides school supplies to children in need.
You may recall Kids R First from our article about their services last summer. It was founded 20 years ago by Susan Ungerer, a retired Terraset Elementary School teacher. During her years as a teacher, she discovered that many students’ families were unable to afford the required school supplies each year. She created a volunteer group to collect and distribute backpacks, pens, notebooks, and other essentials to these children in need.
The program has grown over the years, and in 2016, Kids R First was able to serve 30,000 local students: 22,000 in Fairfax County and 8,000 in Loudoun County.
This winter Kids R First is collecting donations to contribute to their efforts for the next school year. Thanks to charitable discounts offered by their partnering stores, for every $1 they collect, they are able to buy $4 worth of supplies. You can contribute by leaving money in the gingerbread donation box, which is located in front of the gingerbread village.
Kids R First is also offering holiday gift wrapping services in exchange for donations. Their gift wrap station is located just around the corner inside the Hyatt, near the gift shop and Tavern 64.
Prices start at $3, but you are welcome to donate more. Gift wrapping will be available December 19-22 from 12-6pm, December 23 from 10am-6pm, and December 24 from 10am-4pm.
Stop by and say hello, and bring your holiday gifts. You can feel good about finishing your holiday wrapping while also helping local kids in need.
Photography by Charlotte Geary