The second STEP Into Christmas Home Tour on Dec. 7 in Rocky Mount raised $29,000 for Solutions That Empower People (STEP), a nonprofit community action agency that serves low-income families and people in poverty in Henry, Patrick, Franklin, Pittsylvania and Bedford counties, along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville. The agency serves more than 3,500 people each year and is funded largely by state and federal grants.

A release said several hundred visitors flocked to six homes in the Claiborne Avenue neighborhood in Rocky Mount to see the homes decorated in various styles for Christmas. There were historical presentations and a Festival of Trees, featuring Christmas trees decorated by 10 of STEP’s sister nonprofits was an added attraction to the event. Visitors voted on their favorite tree by placing new, unwrapped toys under it. More than 430 toys were collected.

“Funds from donations and events like the home tour allow us to offer more services to more people,” STEP Executive Director Marc Crouse said in a release. “Money received from grants have stipulations about how those funds can be used, and unfortunately not all needs fit neatly into specified categories. We're so pleased to be able to expand our reach by holding this event in our back yard and reinvesting in our community.”

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