Restaurant turns into gingerbread house for a beautiful cause
By Lucia Viti
Queenstown Public House, a New Zealand-inspired restaurant and bar in Little Italy, will transform its quaint cottage edifice into a bona fide gingerbread house adorned with icing, gumdrops, M&Ms and candy canes for the Christmas season.
The captivating dreamland conversion coincides with several local businesses that have partnered with the Little Italy Association’s toy drive to benefit New Alternatives, a transitional housing program that assists foster and probation youth.
“New Alternatives partnered with the Little Italy Association five years ago to donate Christmas gifts to our children, who otherwise may not receive a single item,” said Teresa Theriault, program director for the Family Visitation Center at New Alternatives. “Local business participation has grown from four boxes in its initial year to today’s count of 23. We’re thrilled to know that businesses like Queenstown Public House support our efforts to ensure that every single child within our program receives a gift.”
Theriault said Queenstown Public House contacted her to take the toy drive one step further by decorating the edifice as gingerbread house. “We’re thrilled that Queenstown Public House will do something as special as to perfectly mimic a gingerbread house,” she said.
“Queenstown Public House is whimsical, quirky and the perfect venue for a gingerbread house,” said Queenstown Public House co-owner Darren Roach, who lives in Hillcrest. “Queenstown Public House isn’t just about food, it’s about enjoying a sense of family, comfort and unity with the community. And what better way to do so than through a feel-good, entertaining holiday event.”
Kelly Moses, Queenstown’s media manager who is a Bankers Hill resident, described the upcoming transformation as fun-filled enchantment.
“Queenstown Public House will become a gingerbread house complete with frosting (white lights); gum drops (Styrofoam shapes covered in glitter lights); M&Ms (Styrofoam shapes wrapped in colored lights) and large-sized candy canes,” she said. “We’re excited to transform our little brown house into a season of fun.”
The interior will also be converted into a picturesque Christmas wonderland.
“The inside is already eccentric with grass ceilings and sheep hanging upside down,” Roach said. “So we’ll dress the sheep in holiday scarves, hang decorations from the ceiling and line the inside windows with whip-cream icing. We’ll top off the decoration by filling the jasmine and citrus trees on our outdoor dog-friendly patio with even more Christmas cheer. Queenstown Public House will be the destination hot spot this holiday season.”
Also participating in the toy drive is Blick Art Materials. The 100-year-old family-owned art supply store described their participation as a perfect fit for the community.
“Blick Art Materials offers 60,000 art supplies and gift items perfect for everyone,” said Greg Pita, Blick’s general manager. “What better way to give back to the community than to offer children an item that may lead them to become a future artist. We educate customers on the legitimacy of New Alternatives, its initiates and the gifts given to children who may otherwise not have any. We’re an art supplies store that offers something for everyone so it all makes sense.”
New Alternatives provides “culturally-oriented” and “family-focused” services to children who are victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. The nonprofit corporation founded in 1978 is contracted by San Diego County for court-ordered visitation with children placed in foster care due to improper parenting.
“New Alternatives offers a variety of programs that serve at-risk youth,” Theriault said. “My program works with children facing court-ordered visits with one or both parents because they’ve been placed in foster care. My staff transports a child or children – often there are multiple siblings – to a San Diego center to visit with their parent/s. We role model what parenting looks like during the visitation because often times the parent/s are substance abusers or fall into case-related categories of severe neglect, sexual and physical abuse.”
“We cannot thank the Little Italy Association, Queenstown Public House and all of the participating businesses for their participation in this wonderful event,” Theriault said. “Such tremendous support is also appreciated by the families and children going through this very difficult time. You can always count smiles on the children’s faces. A special gift makes a child’s day a special one.”
—Contact Lucia Viti at email@example.com.