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Shop local, help others with holiday open house

MORGANTOWN — Join the Service League of Morgantown Friday-Sunday at its historic landmark, the Old Stone House at 313 Chestnut St. in downtown Morgantown, for the annual Holiday Open House to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Hours for the open house are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Known as “the gift shop that gives back,” customers may shop knowing their dollars will directly benefit the local community. Profits from the yearly event are used exclusively to benefit needy citizens of Monongalia County. The gift shop is maintained solely through the volunteer power of Service League members. There are no paid employees or managers. Service League was one of the recipients of the 2015 Governor’s Service Award.

Coordinating the efforts of 56 active Service League members in the transformation of the historic 223-year-old house into a festive yuletide showcase will be events committee chair Sue Carpenter and buyers for the gift shop, Marlene Pope and Frances Brown. Susan Dotson guides a committee comprised of league members who contribute a wide assortment of handmade items. Knitted hats and scarves in Mountaineer colors are among customers’ favorites.

The home will be decorated for Christmas and filled with a selection of ornaments, gifts, West Virginia-made items and foods.

Included among the bestselling items are Blenko glass, WV Glass and Ron Hinkle Glass. The shop also carries Alice’s Cottage tea towels, Naked Bee body products, Morgantown prints done by Jo and Bill Aull and children’s books by West Virginia authors. One of the favorite books sold is “TOBIAS: The Mouse in the Old Stone House.” Service League members hand make stuffed mice to co-ordinate with the children’s book. Additionally, the store features food items from Wind and Willow, Uncle Bunk’s, WV Honey, WV Fruit and Berry, Up the Creek, Leavitt Farm Jelly, pure West Virginia maple syrup, Sassy Gals Gourmet Treats and Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods.

Gift shop profits are used to fund assistance to local social services and nonprofit agencies in Monongalia County. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, donations totaling $15,000 were shared with various food pantries and other organizations such as Energy Express, WV Women Work, Mon County Child Advocate Center, Morgantown Area Meals on Wheels, Pantry Plus and More, Christian Help, CASA for Kids, Scotts Run Settlement House, St Ursula’s Food Pantry, Empty Bowls Monongalia, Literacy Volunteers, Bartlett House, Boy Scouts of America, Salvation Army and sponsorships at Mountaineer Boys State and Rhododendron Girls State. Additionally, $400 each was given to classrooms and libraries at Cheat Lake Elementary, Mylan Park Elementary, North Elementary, SkyView Elementary and Brookhaven Elementary School.

An additional $3,515 was shared with 16 local non-profits through the league’s Charity Partner Program.

Extended shopping hours for the gift shop will begin after the Open House when the hours will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sundays.