Fundraiser scheduled in Jones Mills
In true Christmas spirit, a local family will open their home this weekend to the public in an attempt to raise money for a nonprofit organization which cares for adults with intellectual developmental disabilities.
Mark and Marti Brown of Jones Mills in Donegal Township will open their completely refurbished, 106-year-old home for the Faith House Charity Christmas House Tour.
The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The tour benefits the Faith House, a residential facility for adults with such disabilities located in Jeannette that is operated by the nonprofit Acme Providers Inc. of Donegal Township.
The organization and Faith House were founded by township residents Henry and Kathie Hoffer in 2010.
“We think it's extra generous for Mark to offer his whole home to do this for us,” Henry Hoffer said.
Mark Brown said he has been friends with the Hoffers for years. He added that he has performed carpentry work at Faith House where he could see firsthand how the residents are cared for.
“Kathie and Henry work really hard and take such good care of their guys and we like to give back to people who work hard,” Brown said.
The Browns said their home — located at 4080 Rt. 31 East in Jones Mills — was built in 1906 by Annie Gay. Gay was a local farmer's daughter who inherited the property and built the building as a rental property, they said.
From the time it was built until the early 1970s, the building served as a general store. In the early days it also served as the location for the Jones Mills post office. The building's upper floors, for a time, were used for a boarding house.
When the couple bought the building in 1998, they said it was in disrepair.
After 14 years, the couple and their sons have restored every room back to its original glory.
“We've restored it as close to the original as we possibly could,” Brown said.
For the tour, the 3,600 square-foot living space will be decorated for the holiday and it will be open to the public.
The Browns will conduct the tour, which will also feature stories about the property they have gathered from former owners and residents who frequented the facility.
There will also be memorabilia and historic photos of the property displayed, as well.
Tickets for the event will be $10 per person at the door and are $8 in advance.
For tickets, call 724-523-3436.
Special Christmas cards and ornaments handmade by the residents of Faith House will also be available for purchase.
“We are hoping to raise $1,000 to purchase gas fireplace logs (at Faith House). That way all the adults can use it and it will be visually stimulating for the adults we care for with autism,” Kathie Hoffer said. “It will also be a safe and efficient second heating source that can be used in the power goes out.”
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.