BROOKVILLE — The second annual Christmas Village free shopping event will return to Brookville on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Brookville Lanes bowling alley, and opportunities to donate and volunteer are still available for the remainder of the weekend.
The event first appeared in Brookville last year, the brainchild of Brookville Lanes owner Mike Dusch and several other individuals with whom he attended church. The decision was made to hold it at Brookville Lanes because “we have the room,” Dusch said.
The goal of Christmas Village is to serve as a free Christmas shopping event for area families who are in need. It provides a variety of gift items — arranged in the midst of the decorated village setting constructed inside the facility — all of which are free of charge to the families attending.
The gifts are distributed based on the size of the families. Those in attendance will be able to describe the number of people for whom they need gifts.
They then will be given a sheet outlining what they are able to get and how much. The gift items are both purchased and donated, depending on the resources at hand.
“We get a lot of donations from the community here,” Dusch said. Members of the community have frequently donated both money and gifts, including toys, hats and household items.
Dusch said that he challenges his league bowlers to participate, and that they bring a lot of resources to bear but added that members of the community also have donated much of the money and gifts.
Christmas 2011 was the first time the Christmas Village at Brookville Lanes visited the local community. Dusch said that the response to the first-ever Christmas Village was very positive.
“Last year was tremendous,” he said.
Dusch said that more than 600 individuals came through the doors to check out what the village had to offer, along with a few hundred children.
The volunteers do their best to tend to children and families while everyone else is shopping, providing such activities as free bowling, free gift wrapping, food and snacks, haircuts for the kids, fingernail painting, story time and others, many of which will be offered again this year to keep the young ones occupied while their parents shop for gifts.
There will be volunteers on hand to tend to the children and help guide them through the available activities while their parents browse the selection.
There also will be some new activities.
Dusch said that a local 4-H group would be in attendance to do some crafts with the kids as a community service project.
In addition, the first 20 families who show up will receive a free ham dinner that they can take home with them.
From last year, Dusch said that monetary donations to the Christmas Village free shopping event have grown.
“We’re getting the money collections more, and we’re able to go out and buy more stuff,” he said.
For anyone who is interested in making a donation, the Christmas Village is looking for new and gently used items for men, women and children. It is asked that you do not submit clothing items except for coats, hats, gloves and boots.
There is still time to donate this weekend, as items will be accepted from 5 to 9 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and all morning up until the start of the event on Sunday.
There are still volunteer opportunities as well.
Dusch said that there are several community churches involved this year,
sponsoring the event and providing volunteers.
However, the local churches are not the only parties involved, and anyone interested in volunteering is welcome.
“People from the community are helping, too, not necessarily with the church,” Dusch said.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering can either call the Brookville Lanes or simply show up in person and express interest in helping out.
Dusch added that this year’s Christmas Village free shopping event, the second one in Brookville, is unlikely to be the last.
“We’ll keep doing it until we see that it isn’t going to do anything,” Dusch said.
For more information, contact Mike Dusch at 849-5050.