What-in-the-heck is the Holly House? Well, in a nut shell, it's a very special listing for a very special cause. It's an opportunity to put a smile on the face of a child, joy in the heart of a stranger and hopefully, the spirit of giving in everyone.
How cool would it be if you could take a few dollars and just help out different folks? No lengthy forms to fill out for assistance, no committees to decide who is "worthy", no meeting certain criteria, etc.... Just you and a will to give. A will to make someone's holiday season just a little brighter. That's the goal of the Holly House!
Each year we're designating a listing as "The Holly House" . With the sale of this home, we'll be able to raise thousands of dollars to help out folks in our local communities. We want to help families who have suffered a sudden and tragic event in their life and help put a smile on a sick child who may be forced to spend Christmas in the hospital as well as provide clothes to those without a permanent home.
If you've never read the story of Larry Stewart, Larry was the Secret Santa that handed out money every holiday season - to complete strangers; to people he thought could use a little boost, whether it be financially or emotionally. Since he didn't donate money to a charitable organization, he received no tax benefit from his actions. He just wanted to do something nice for people - for complete strangers. You can read the full story here: Larry Stewart - The Original Secret Santa
Larry's story is actually the inspiration for The Holly House!
Every year at Christmas time, Bentwood Realty and the agents buy toys for children in the CPS (Child Protective Services) system. These are children that had to be removed from their homes for their own well being and (in some cases) for their own safety. It's heartbreaking to know that some of these kids had to be put into protective services just days before Christmas. Unfortunately (for the safety and privacy of the children that are in the CPS system), we're not able to meet the child, see them open the present on Christmas morning or even get to know their story. Soooo, we wanted to expand in a "Larry Stewart Way".
Of course, we'll still purchase toys for children in CPS each year, but we wanted a way to see and meet people, a way to make a complete stranger's holiday season shine a just little bit brighter, a way to learn from our experience. A way for us to connect with people who live in our area. After seeing the story about Larry Stewart and the Kansas City Secret Santa, it didn't take long for the idea of the Holly House to be born.
So, what's in it for us?? Plenty! But not like what you may think. It's about the emotional experience and the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. A big part is also about our own humility. There's nothing more humbling than talking and getting to know someone who has been through the ringer and back - and they're still standing.
Speaking of humility.... It was Christmas of 2011. I was online doing a ton of research about a present I wanted to buy somone. I wanted to make sure I got the best deal, the right features, the best brand, etc.... Anyway, in walks my 4 year old daughter. She asks me "Daddy, when I'm going to meet your mommy and daddy? Will I get to meet them this Christmas?" My heart completely sank. I explained to her that my mommy and daddy died a long time ago. I told her that I wished she could meet them and that they would love her as much as I do. She told me that even though she'll never meet them, she still misses them and she loves them too.
Wow, it took a 4 year old to help me remember what's really important. It isn't about that perfect present. It isn't about the right brand or the best deal. It's about family. It's about friends, co-workers AND complete strangers. It's about people. It's not just about buying a shiny new toy for a sick child Christmas. Hopefully, that new toy will help that child forget about the pain, about their illness, even for just for a short time. It's about hope and the humility.
Earlier this year, we sold a home with the proceeds from the sale ear-marked for our adventure this holiday season. I'm excited to announce that "The Launch" will take place on Friday, November 20th!
This is going to be a blast! On November 20th from 4:30 - 5:30, Dewayne Wells and KBGO 95.7 FM will be at "The Launch." We'll have refreshments AND Santa Claus himself will be on hand to take photos with the kiddos! No charge for the photos at all. If you're out and about near our offices at 601 Lake Air Dr., please come by on that day.
"The Launch" is our kick-off event for the adventure that will begin the following Monday. This is so cool... here's what we're going to do.... We'll hit the streets on different days and just try to brighten up the day for various folks. We'll be randomly paying for people's meals, Christmas bills, buying toys for kids in our local community, trying to help people that could use an extra boost this holiday season. This is VERY informal... no lines, no forms, no criteria, etc... Just a group of us (and yes, YOU'RE invited) meeting people, talking to folks, getting their stories and hopefully brightening someone's day, even for just a few minutes.
Please follow our facebook page for Holly House updates, that's where will post photos, videos, stories and more: The Holly House
If you'd like to find out how you get involved and help, please call us at (254) 307-9700