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December 02, 2016
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The summer knows…

Hilltop Homes' Dave Dunlap helms the fifth annual Santa's Village in Monticello, NY, providing Christmas magic for thousands of children and adults alike.

Hearing that Jeff Bank was celebrating its 100th birthday (Dharma has an account), we stopped by to congratulate the staff and wish them well, before heading out to yet another volunteer committee meeting, this time in anticipation of (gasp) making “the magic of Christmas come alive.” Santa’s Village (www.facebook.com/santasvillageathilltophomes) is “a free annual event open to the community,” started by Dave and Corinne Dunlap, when they realized that there was “nowhere in the Monticello area for kids and adults alike to see Santa and enjoy the magic of Christmas.” Their mission “to raise funds for Sullivan County CASA” (www.sullivancoutycasa.org) and provide gifts under the tree for kids (www.toysfortots.org) has grown exponentially over the years, and partnering with the M&M Auto Group (www.mmautogroup.com) and Thunder 102 (dot com) has enabled the Dunlaps to see their dreams realized, one toy at a time. “Over the last few years,” the Dunlap’s shared, “we have collected well over $15,000 and more than 3,000 toys at Santa’s Village, while assisting CASA (court appointed special advocates), which provides screened, trained and supervised volunteers, appointed by the court, to speak up for the needs of abused and neglected children,”

Since Santa’s Village is a free event, it literally “takes a village” to make the Dunlap’s dream (The Hilltop Express, spectacular decorations and a musical show with over 150,000 lights) a reality for the community at large, and so naturally, we solicit donations in an effort to provide holiday memories for those less fortunate. It seems early, but this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before, which requires months of planning and scores of volunteers. Once again, the lyrics nudge me into action. “And so she takes her summertime, tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger, twist the world ‘round her summer finger. Let’s you see the wonder of it all. And if you learned your lesson well, there’s little more for her to tell, one last caress, it’s time to dress… for fall.”

To contribute to Santa’s Village, call Dave Dunlap at 845/807-7555, or email hilltophomes02@aol.com, or contact me directly at Jonathanfox@riverreporter.com.