Gingerbread house workshop to benefit area nonprofit

    A group of Philadelphia restaurant pros will come together this holiday season for a gingerbread house workshop to benefit military families.

    Community collaboration.

    It’s the icing that binds us. And it’s the driving force behind this Sunday’s kid-focused gingerbread house workshop in Philadelphia.

    Held annually at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Center City, the gingerbread house workshop has always had a philanthropic flavor. This year’s efforts will go to benefit military families in Pennsylvania and Delaware through the non-profit organization, Operation Homefront.

    Throughout the year Operation Homefront provides assistance to military personnel and their families. It offers emergency financial assistance, food, baby items and even home repairs to post 9-11 veterans and the families of those still deployed.

    “We have a large guard and reserve contingency here,” said Peter Stinson, executive director Operation Homefront of PA & DE. And by working with local veterans associations, Operation Homefront is able to reach those in need.

    “This year it’s the most assistance we’ve ever provided in Pennsylvania and Delaware, by far,” he said. “There’s a lot of time that the children are caught in the middle.”

    Which is why Operation Homefront has teamed up with Davio’s for this year’s fundraiser; and why representatives have chosen to send children from three area families to participate in the event.

    There’s something magical about gingerbread houses. The staged scenes of winter wonderment; graham cracker windows trimmed in snow white icing; Necco wafer shingles and peppermint swirl pathways just taunting you to pick off a gumdrop doorknob and shove it into your mouth while nobody’s looking.

    But for children and parents alike, the real memories come from working together to building something so awe inspiring that it has become a time-honored tradition.

    A handful of the city’s most talented pastry chefs will be on hand to lead the day’s demonstration, including Robert Bennett of Classic Cake, Chad Durkin of Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, Jessie Prawlucki of Belle Cakery & FONDBredenbeck’s Diana Anello, and Davio’s Pastry Chef, Thomas Heck.

    Also lending a hand in this weekend’s event is Nuts to You, a Philadelphia-based, family run company that’s been in business since 1976. They’ve culled the best of their shelves and will donate all the candy and sugary ornaments that a proper gingerbread house requires.

    Each child that attends the workshop will receive a gingerbread house to decorate, a buffet lunch and a chance to meet Santa. Guests are also welcome to bring one unwrapped toy that will go to the children of military families in need.

    Tickets for this Sunday’s gingerbread house workshop being held at Davio’s from 12 p.m. – 3p.m. cost $49 per child. Adult admission is free, but lunch for parents will cost an additional $49.

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