Santa Claus conducts the Franklin County High School Eagles Choir as they offered Christmas carols to visitors.
The first STEP Into Christmas Home Tour, held Saturday, Dec. 8, was considered a great success by organizers and visitors alike.
“It was a wonderful event!” commented Janet Stockton on the STEP Into Christmas Facebook page after touring the five historic homes on Maple Avenue in Rocky Mount.
STEP Into Christmas was a fundraiser for Solutions That Empower People, (STEP) Inc., a nonprofit community action agency which offers services to low income families and people in poverty in Franklin, Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania and Bedford counties, along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville. The agency serves more than 3,500 people each year and is funded largely by state and federal grants.
“Funds from donations and events like the home tour allow us to offer more services to more people,” said STEP Executive Director, Marc Crouse. “We're so pleased to hold this event in our back yard and are equally excited that the proceeds will likewise be reinvested in our community.”
The home tour raised about $17,000, including ticket sales and sponsorships.
Several hundred visitors flocked to Maple Avenue to see the homes decorated for Christmas. Each of the five homes had features unique to it, and the homeowner’s personalities were reflected in their styles of decoration.
“I was thrilled to see the beautiful homes on Maple. Each one was different and beautiful in its own right. I was equally pleased that the home tour was for such a worthy cause. STEP is such a huge part of our community and provides services for so many people in Franklin County,” Stockton said.
In addition to seeing the decorated homes, visitors were treated to Christmas carols sung by the Franklin County High School Eagles Choir and refreshments provided by STEP Board members and several community businesses. Santa Claus was also present to inspire some holiday spirit.
“We are grateful to our homeowners for so graciously opening up their homes to a sold-out crowd,” Crouse said. About 550 tickets were distributed to visitors and sponsors.
The event received wide-spread support from the community and sponsors including P.A.C. Interiors, ReMax Mountain to Lake Realty, Bassett Office Supply, Carter’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts, Member One Credit Union, Ferrum College Dining Services, Haywood Jewelers, and the STEP Board of Directors. Other sponsors included Choice Communications Group, Union Bank and Trust, Hawk Advisors, Arrington Sports and Awards, American National Bank, MidAtlantic Data and Communications Inc., US Foods, Willard Insurance, CHP Energy Solutions, Envisions, Franklin Glass, Innovative Insurance Group, William White Sr. Certified Public Accountant, and Zach Wimmer Edward Jones Investments.
Additional support was received from Arrington Enterprises, Inc., Collinsville Printing, Inc., Donna Winge, J&J Weatherization, Virginia Office Supply, Ippy’s, and TNT Automotive Services.