For 27 years, the Christmas Fantasy House welcomed visitors to a house full of Christmas trees, lights, decorations and cheers to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House in Easteren Wisconsin.
But this year the fundraiser volunteers knew they had to turn things upside down because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With the 2020 fundraiser, they bring the joy of Christmas to your car as those who want to donate to charity don’t even have to leave their vehicle to see Santa Claus.
The Christmas Fantasy House event, showcasing Stuff the Stocking, will take place November 11-15 at the Ronald McDonald House, 8948 W. Watertown Plank Road, Wauwatosa, and other locations throughout Milwaukee Metro.
“We decided to find another way to raise some money for them,” said Nikki Bruneau, the fundraiser’s media coordinator. “So we came up with this fun and safe way for people to donate.”
Bruneau said those who wish to donate can drag Lup into the driveway of the house, where volunteers with stockings are waiting, ready to raise funds. Individuals can put donations in the stocking themselves or open the trunk if they want to stay in their vehicle.
A McDonald’s voucher is issued for each vehicle passing through.
The fundraiser will benefit the families and children who stay indoors while they are cared for at Children’s Wisconsin or other local hospitals. In 2019, the charity provided more than 2,900 family stays.
The home allows families to pay what they can for the visit.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the charity needs help more than ever as it had to limit the number of people who could stay indoors early during the pandemic.
Bruneau said she didn’t think they could run a fundraiser this year, so she and the large team of volunteers are happy to help.
“I look forward to seeing the families and children up the driveway and children giving presents to children and families giving presents to families,” she said.
All donated items must be new.
For children, the charity is asking for books, newborn toiletries, Pokémon card sets, and small travel games.
Food, household items, and office supplies are also asked for. The three most important requirements are gift cards, disinfectant wipes, and an antibacterial promise with multiple surfaces.
Bruneau said all children who stay in the house will be given a voucher to receive an item from the “magical room,” which includes children’s toys, books and more.
The food donated will help fill the pantry and fridges in the house.
The drive-up event takes place from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from November 11 to 13 and from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. from November 14 to 15.
There are six other drop-off points that will be open on selected dates from November 11th to 15th:
- VICI Capilli-VICI Park Salon & Spa, 4111 p. 108 St., Milwaukee, Friday 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Key Pieces, W282 N7148 Main St., Merton, Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- The Flower Garden, 202 North Ave., Hartland: Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Twins Flower & Home Decor, 14170 W. National Ave., New Berlin: Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- The Gingerbread House, S63 W16148 College Ave., Muskego: Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Winkies Trademarks and Gifts, 629 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay: 9 am to 6 pm Wednesday through Saturday and 10 am to 3 pm Sunday
Bruneau also said two schools in the area are running their own fundraisers for the house. St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Wauwatosa and Elmwood Elementary School in New Berlin ask the children to bring items for the fundraiser.
To learn more about the charity event, visit bit.ly/rmch2020.
Evan Casey can be reached at 414-403-4391 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ecaseymedia.