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Gingerbread house creates holiday magic for those in need

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Dec 06, 2021

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Chelcie Pierce's mom Arthella had a knack for making magical holiday memories.

"You believed in everything, even when you were an adult, I mean Santa always came," said Pierce.

Just two months before Christmas last year, her mother died in her sleep from a heart attack.

"It was very sudden and unexpected,” said Pierce.

What you also need to know about Pierce's mom is that she loved helping others.

Grandma's Magical Gingerbread House, now in its second year, carries on that legacy.

“My family members all had a hand in helping build and paint it. It was really fitting to have something Christmasey in her honor," said Pierce.

With its candy cane walk, the house in Pierce's North Olmsted front yard is full of new and gently used toys for those who need them.

"Legos, Barbies, and Hot Wheels are the fastest things to go," said Pierce.

Pierce said she has heard a lot of stories of people who need help, many of whom got COVID-19 in December of last year and were out of work.

"All of a sudden money had to be put towards needs more than filling under the tree," said Pierce.

The demand in 2021, with the ongoing pandemic, is just as high according to Pierce.

"It is on Facebook, and people had known about it from last year, we had people the very first day stopping in," said Pierce.

Pierce and her family, including her oldest son, used their own money to stock the house at the start of the season.

"He's 12, he says we have to have a wrestler in there in case a boy doesn't have a wrestler. When Target would do their toy clearance, I had picked up stuff throughout the year which was a big help," said Pierce.

Inside, you'll also find freshly baked cookies, with sprinkles of course, and a spot to leave a sweet note of encouragement like "you got this" or "thank you so much, you saved Christmas for my kids."

"I love to hear the people that need it, and know that we were able to help," said Pierce.

While at the same time paying tribute to a woman who often extended a helping hand while trying her best to stay behind the scenes.

"This year, I hung a picture of her in there just in her honor, and my brother and I joke that she was probably having a fit that her picture was in there," said Pierce.