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By Lois Thomson

Dent_Home
"The former Dent Home in Brownstown is one of the featured homes on the tour."

If you notice a woman approaching your door carrying a loaf of zucchini bread, don't be concerned; rather, be flattered.  It might be Kim Ciccarelli, and she may be asking for your consent to feature your home on the Mon Valley "Home for the Holidays" House Tour.

Ciccarelli started the tours in 2015 after her cousin invited her to go on one in Uniontown to benefit a children's fund.  "That was my first house tour, and on the way home I thought this would be a great community project I could do because we have a lot of beautiful homes in the Belle Vernon area," she said.  The tour – interrupted for two years by Covid – has since expanded to neighboring areas, and this year includes homes in Monessen, Donora, and Brownstown near Fayette City.

In choosing the homes, Ciccarelli said, "I look at them from the outside.  If the outside is well groomed, chances are the inside is, too.  Some are well-known in the area and have been a focal point for years.  I knock on the doors and I usually have a homemade zucchini bread in my hand.  Rejections are hard, but so many people are nice.  Some say not this year, so I put them on my list for next year."

She said she asks them to open the whole house because many people enjoy seeing not only the Christmas decorations, but the architecture of the house as well.  

Ciccarelli's purpose in starting the tours was to donate the money to local charities, and the first recipient was a drug awareness program at Belle Vernon High School, which received about $3,000.  Since then, area libraries, food banks, and the Salvation Army have benefited, and this year, Ciccarelli said, "Our money is going to what's called the Bag Brigade, an organization that was created by some women in Rostraver Township."

She explained the Bag Brigade is for low-income children who need a helping hand.  The Brigade puts together up to 200 lunch packs and distributes them to kids so they have food to eat over the weekend.  Money will also be donated to benefit Washington Township senior citizens; to Alliance Church in Brownstown, which is on the tour and features a 300-piece nativity display; and to the Donora Historical Society.

A Chinese auction will also be held at house number 4 – Carrie and Susan Moore, the former Dent Manor in Brownstown.  For more information or to reserve a tickets, call 724-747-5191.

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