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Brookwood Community to Host Open House and Spread Holiday Cheer


December 3, 2019

By Pat Baldwin

To discover the true meaning of the season, head to the Brookwood Community's main campus in nearby Brookshire Friday, December 6, and Saturday, December 7, for an Open House. Dine in the cafe, take a campus tour, enjoy musical performances and shop 'til you drop!

Look up “holiday spirit” in the dictionary, and you just might find mention of The Brookwood Community, a residential home and vocational fellowship for adults with disabilities. In its stores, you can shop year-round for unique gifts and home goods while knowing you are “doing good.”

Head to the special two-day Open House this week at Brookwood’s 485-acre, main campus in nearby Brookshire.

Open House Activities

Highlighting the Open House Friday and Saturday, December 6-7, will be several special activities and events. Here’s the schedule for each of the two days.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Shop ‘til you drop in the Brookwood Gift & Garden Center

9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Self-guided campus tours

10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – Citizen Christmas Pageant in the Reynolds Cafetorium

10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Buffet lunch in the Café. ($19.95 plus tax) Reservations not required

“The Open House is our biggest event of the year,” says Jennifer Tiedt, Brookwood senior marketing and advancement officer. “It’s a perfect opportunity to see just how talented our citizens, who live and work at Brookwood, really are.”

Pageant Showcases Talent

In particular, Tiedt invites the public to enjoy the Citizen Christmas Pageant to be performed twice on both Friday and Saturday. This year’s theme is “Christmas in Motion.” Performances will include singers, musicians and the Brookwood handbell choir. Tiedt notes that the performers have been practicing for months.

“Everybody has a job and a place at Brookwood,” Tiedt says. The pageant, especially, shows how the Brookwood residents or “citizens,” are “filled with meaning and purpose.”

She also encourages the public to visit the Garden Center – part of the gift shop – for Christmas poinsettias, which are grown by the citizens as part of Brookwood’s horticultural program.

In addition to horticulture and retail, Brookwood enterprises include handcrafts, food packaging (salad dressing lines and private-labeled products), online catalog sales and the Brookwood Café. Weddings, receptions and catering represent an expansion of the Café’s continuing success.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

“It’s going to be a very fun, busy couple of days,” says Gail Meineke, a sales associate in the gift shop.

Shoppers sometimes express surprise at the breadth of the store’s offerings, especially during the Christmas season when the mix expands to include holiday décor, accessories, and nativity scenes and pieces.

“It’s all about the mission and to show people what they are capable of,” Meineke says. That mission focuses on educational, vocational and spiritual pursuits. The “they” she references, of course, are the Brookwood citizens whose work is in evidence in the gift shop and throughout the community.

This year, shoppers will find new Christmas ornaments and Christmas cards, among the “usual,” Meineke adds.

That “usual” is a lengthy list: Texas gifts including bluebonnet-themed products, crosses, spa items, gourmet foods, decorative plaques and more. And don’t forget the Gallery at Brookwood, where professional artists display and sell paintings, ceramics, glass, wood, sculptures, jewelry and other unique items.

In other words, Brookwood is the place to shop for that difficult-to-please person on your list.

From One to Many

The complete story of The Brookwood Community is told in the 2016 book, “Everybody’s Got a Seed to Sow,” by founder Yvonne Streit, with a foreword by the late First Lady Barbara Bush.

When Streit’s daughter, Vicki, became disabled, the family embarked in 1957 on a journey that spanned decades and involved adventures in faith, research, learning and advocacy.

The result? The creation of the 485-acre campus in Brookshire where the first resident enrolled in 1985.

Currently, Brookwood programs serve more than 225 citizens, including 110 residents who live, work, play and worship at the Brookshire campus. About 115 adults participate in the day programs at the main campus and the Brookwood store in Gallery Furniture on Grand Parkway.

The Brookshire campus facilities also include eight group homes, two single-family staff homes, a residential Inn, a health and dental clinic, a Worship Center, an enterprise building, an activities and administration building, 47 greenhouses, and several support buildings.

‘God’s Chair’

Visitors will see an empty chair – “God’s chair” – wherever citizens gather as a reminder not only of the spiritual learning encompassed in activities, but also that they are never alone.

The enterprises are supported by a network of donors, community volunteers and, of course, the shoppers who are welcomed in the stores daily.

As one shopper notes, Brookwood is like “God meets Pier One.”

Additional Information and Events

For more information, visit their website here. To shop online, click here.

Seasonal activities also include “Breakfast with Santa” December 14-15. Everyone is invited 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to enjoy a buffet and to take photos with Santa. For reservations, call 281-375-2400.

The Brookwood Community Store

Brookwood Gift & Garden Center

1749 F.M. 1489, Brookshire

Brookwood Store Grand Parkway

7227 West Grand Parkway, Richmond

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