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Southington holiday display spreads cheer, collects donations

Jennifer Baptiste of Ace of Space created a tire snowman family in her front yard and is collecting donations for a local food pantry and animal control center.

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — As the holiday season kicks off, one mother who's a business owner in Southington is using an elaborate display in front of her home to help those in need.

Jennifer Baptiste, owner of professional organizing business Ace of Space, created a snowman family in her front yard on Edgewood Circle, and she's also collecting donations for a local food pantry and animal control center.

"People were really receptive to it. They came, they'd be outside taking pictures. I kind of would be looking out the window at some point like a creeper, just to see how many people were out there," said Baptiste.

Baptiste brought the spare tires to life about five years ago with a family of three, representing herself, her husband and her son. What started as nothing more than a fun holiday display took on a bigger meaning last year when her business slowed down because of the pandemic.

Credit: Jennifer Baptiste

"I'm so used to helping other people that it was something I really struggled with, not working for me was a hard thing, just financially and mentally because I didn't have any focus and so I still wanted to find a way to give back to the community that's done a lot for us," said Baptiste. 

Baptiste added some new members to the snow family and started a community donation collection for Southington Bread for Life food pantry.

"Last year, we collected 800 pounds of food. You see little bits coming in, little bits coming in, then you start to see my bedroom swell up with the bags, and it's heartwarming." said Baptiste. 

Credit: Jennifer Baptiste

The mission continues this year, and in addition to collecting non-perishable food items, Baptiste is also collecting donations for Southington Animal Control, including cat and dog toys and food.

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"I'm sure there's people out there who are worse off than we are. It's important making sure you have the items you need and when I needed assistance people have been right there to jump in. I've reached out to them for help and now it's my way of giving back to the community even if they don't know where it's coming from," said Baptiste. 

"We have three other organizations in our town that help feed those in need during this holiday season and beyond, so someone taking time with this kind of impact, it goes a long way," said Missy Cipriano of Southington Bread for Life.

The donation bins will be out until Jan. 15. 

Baptiste is asking people to share their pictures on social media with #CTSnowFamily.

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