Thoreau Lane in Allen is lined with modest brick homes, but one stands out at this time of year.
“Welcome to the life-sized gingerbread house,” said Katie Kaufman.
Kaufman owns a home baking business called Eau Jupiters. She wanted to thank her for her loyalty during the pandemic by building a small holiday backdrop for photos in her garden.
Kaufman’s little idea wrapped around the entire house and front yard, complete with cupcakes made from lampshades and candies made from pool noodles.
Friends, family and neighbors helped make the decorations and offered to donate. Kaufman didn’t want the money for himself.
Kaufman said he was asked, “Have you ever thought about doing something for someone else?” “And I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, there’s someone who can do that.'”
That person was Kaufman’s neighbor and friend, Hannah Galory, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last year. Kaufman’s front lawn has her QR code for anyone who can or would like to donate to help Galorie. Kaufman asked people to tag their photos with #sweethopehouse.
“Last Christmas, I didn’t know if I was going to be here this Christmas,” Galory said, wiping away tears. “It was really humbling for us to be in that position.”
Kaufman said she’s just paying it forward.
“It’s easy to think, ‘Wow, they’re so cool that they’re doing this,’ but maybe it’s an expression of the love we receive from God and our friends,” Kaufman said. “I hope it brings her joy and I hope it feels like a nice big hug to her.”
“I love it,” Galory said, sitting on a candy cane bench.