PRINCETON — Last month, the Cocoa Cottage was the spot to meet Mrs. Claus and warm up with some hot chocolate during Princeton’s Christmas Walk.
Starting Wednesday, the Cocoa Cottage is going to be the spot to bring some joy to some local youngsters this Christmas.
Steve Frey has created “Freezin’ for a Reason,” which will begin at the cottage, located next to the Prouty Building, at noon Wednesday. Frey is not planning on leaving until he collects 500 toys or $5,000 for the United Way.
“As a Dad, I would hate to see my kids be disappointed at Christmas,” Frey said. “This is just a small way to make sure that everybody has something under the tree.”
Frey said he came up with the idea for “Freezin’ for a Reason” on a whim. Following the Christmas Walk, Frey’s wife, Kim, who is executive director of the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce, was looking for another use for the cottage, which was put up for the Christmas Walk.
“She said, ‘I wish we could figure out something else to do with that little cottage,’” Frey said. “This is kind of the result of that.”
Frey will move into the cottage at noon Wednesday, and he’s hoping for lots of company.
“We’d like to see everybody come out, and our goal is to raise 500 toys or $5,000 in donations,” he said. “I’ll be staying there until one of those two goals — or both — are met.”
Frey hopes he meets his goal before too many cold nights go past.
“One night would be OK, but two nights could be pushing it,” he said.
Frey doesn’t have all the logistics worked out for living in an unheated garden shed in the middle of December. There is a power source coming into the Cocoa Cottage, so he’s planning on plugging in a space heater.
As far as bathroom facilities, Frey said the Prouty Building is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
And the rest of the night ...
“After 9 p.m., I guess I’m not real clear on that,” he said with a laugh.
Frey is optimistic his sojourn will not be a long one.
“The word has really gotten out thanks to a lot of United Way volunteers and supporters,” he said.
A Facebook page has been set up for the event, and many people have already pledged to stop by.
“I want people to come out, and if it’s hundreds of people, even better,” he said. “We’ll see what that initial response is, and if we need to really call in some favors, I think we can probably do that, too.”
Frey said he and Kim have been involved with United Way for a long time, and this is their first year as campaign chairs.
“We’ve seen firsthand through United Way and all the partner agencies that void that they fill for individuals and families,” he said. “They do a ton of good.”
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