NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WJW) – At the end of a candy cane-striped walkway, the door is always open at “Grandma’s Magical Gingerbread House.” They’re ready to welcome guests in need of extra help from Santa to make Christmas bright.
“When you come in, it’s just got a little bit of everything in here,” said founder Chelcie Pierce. “That first year, I think it was sad because we had a lot of people that didn’t know how to ask for help.”
Now in its third holiday season, Pierce continues to share the magic of her mother with the rest of the world. Arthella Sariego died in 2020. Pierce said her family channeled their grief into good for the community.
“I told my husband we need some sort of magical Christmas distraction,” said Pierce. “Everyone was kind of grieving and building and trying to be cheery and it was something we used to work through that hard time.”
Pierce’s husband built a small home in their front yard for anyone to pick up a toy free of charge for families struggling to put gifts under the Christmas tree.
The labor of love continues to welcome anyone in need of some Christmas magic. The gingerbread house is home to toys for children, in addition to hats, gloves and even treats for pets.
Inside, several handwritten notes are posted from families expressing their thanks for the generous gifts. Pierce said she would like to do more to help.
“I think it’s just cool to have a legacy where we’re helping people like she raised me to do,” said Pierce. “That’s the best part, actually. We’re just a little house in North Olmsted. We aren’t rich or anything and if we can just help a little bit, it’d be so cool.”
Donations are encouraged. Guests can leave toys at the gingerbread house for other families in need.