Local Seventh Grader Baking Gingerbread Houses To Donate To Family Shelter

A Long Valley Middle School student is baking up a joyful holiday experience for some kids that are less fortunate this holiday season. Mackenzie Rice, a seventh grader at LVMS, is starting “Gingerbread Home for the Holidays” with the help of her peers in the National Junior Honor Society and Toll Brothers Luxury Home Builders, who is the naming sponsor of the event.

“Making gingerbread houses with my family has always been synonymous with good holiday memories for me, and I’d like to bring some of that warmth to Homeless Solutions Family Shelter,” says the 12-year-old, who came up with the idea to build gingerbread houses for the kids being housed at the Morristown shelter, and bring them fully assembled, ready-to-decorate! But it’s a lot of work. First the dough needs to be made, using her mother’s recipe for structural gingerbread. Then fifteen pieces have to be cut out for each house, baked and glued together with sugar, before being transported over to Homeless Solutions on Dec. 22.

Since each house takes a little over an hour and a half to construct, Rice has recruited volunteers to help her bake and assemble the 25 gingerbread houses, as well as sort donated candy and make royal icing to bring to the kids. At least a dozen volunteers have been gathering at the Long Valley Middle School Consumer Science room on several days to get all the baking done in time, and six volunteers will then bring the finished houses to the family shelter in Morristown to help the kids decorate the finished products and bring them to life, along with bringing joy to the kids!

Toll Brothers is sponsoring the project, and candy has been donated from Mars, Smarties and NECCO, along with kids from Benedict Cucinella Elementary School and Long Valley Middle School, who donated their leftover Halloween candy. For those who would like to sponsor a house, the cost is $5. Checks can be made out to “LVMS” and sent to LVMS at 51 West Mill Road, Long Valley. All money made on the project will be used to get gift cards for children at the shelter!

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