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Chamber Gingerbread House Contest Helps Families, Students

Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce teams up with young artists to raise money for college tuition grants and the Westport Department of Human Services.

WESTPORT — Gingerbread houses on display in The Drawing Room of The Inn at Longshore Monday evening included designs called Candy Kingdom and School of Fun. Twenty-four children from ages 4 to 16 created the houses, which garnered votes in the form of donations made at 24 member businesses of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber contest raised $1,000 for tuition grants allowing Staples High School students to go to college and $455 for the Westport Department of Human Services to assist families in need.

"This is a great way to give back by the chamber," said Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Parrelli Gray, "but also great opportunity for the businesses to welcome in new customers and new clients who went into the businesses to vote."

The winning gingerbread houses were the ones that raised the highest dollar amounts in donations. Parrelli Gray said children asked their parents, grandparents and others to donate and the businesses promoted the gingerbread houses in their stores and offices.

The winning entries earned gift certificates to local businesses and lollipops. "It's a way to say thank you," Parrelli Gray said.

Taking first place was Sophia Lomnitz, 7, and Samantha Henske, 6, with $47.23 at Village Pediatrics LLC in Westport.

Second was Caroline Gray, 14, Parrelli Gray's daughter, with $46.71 at iFloat.

Zach Lomnitz, 12, and Spencer Henske, 10, created the third place entry, earning $41.19 at Village Pediatrics LLC in Westport.

Parrelli Gray said People's United Bank counted the money raised to determine the winners and Oscar's Deli provided cookies for Monday night's ceremony.

Barbara Butler, the director of Human Services, accepted the $455 check during the awards ceremony.

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