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Get out: Give back, see Santa and more

BY: Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | December 20, 2012

LANCASTER- On Sunday, Dec. 23, MEBSGAMES will open its doors so that the Village of Lancaster can open their hearts. Visitors will have the opportunity to donate to two wonderful local organizations, meet local author David Gillam, and visit with the one and only… Santa Claus.

The event called “Santa Flies High with Bryce,” is all for the kids, said MEBSGAMES Owner Edward Marki.

Bryce Buchholz was only 14 years old when he was killed by a drunk driver, who struck him while riding his bike on Lake Avenue in May. Since his passing, a memorial fund has been created to build a skate park in Lancaster in honor of Bryce’s memory.

The goal for the group has been $150,000 and so far they have raised $105,000. To continue their efforts, members of the Bryce Buchholz Memorial Fund will be at the event asking for donations and selling merchandise to help support the park.

“As soon as I opened the store, I wanted Bryce to be a part of it,” said Marki, who dedicated part of his store’s front window to Bryce where customers can purchase clothing, wristbands, and bracelets. “So, with all the youth in here and all the video gaming that Bryce had done when he was with us it was natural to have his memory alive and well in this store.”

Also, Michele Goldfarb, who is the fundraising coordinator of the Community Services Support Foundation (CSSF) at Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc., will be at the event accepting donations

The foundation secures financial resources and manages funds that support organizations, activities, and individuals that provide and improve services for individuals with developmentally disabilities in Western New York.

The foundation accepts and administers gifts, donations, bequests, and grants on behalf of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled. They offer more than 40 different programs to provide a full range of services to meet the personal, social, and vocational needs of individuals.

“It is important that the Bryce Foundation can continue their work and fulfill their dream, as well as help children with disabilities,” said Marki. “That day my store is completely dedicated to raising money for Bryce and for children with disabilities.”

Marki added anyone who donates to either group or purchases an item from the Bryce Buchholz Foundation will get the chance to play in the store’s game room free for an hour.

“It is not going to be about MEBSGAMES being opened,” said Marki. “It’s going to be about Santa Claus and giving to those in need.”

Furthermore, the day will include a free book signing by 1978 Lancaster High School graduate David Gillam, who recently debuted as an author/illustrator with his new release of “GINGERTOWN,” a holiday family fun story that can be enjoyed by all ages.

The book is inspired by Gillam’s childhood memories growing up in Lancaster and is about fictional character Julie Needles, an energetic nine-year old, who is spending winter vacation at her grandparents’ farm. While staying there with her teenage sister, Jodi, and her mischievous little brother, Brian, she intends to make a Christmas Eve wish.

Contrary to Jodi’s disbelief in such childish things, Julie’s magical aspirations materialize. But to Julie’s surprise the wish result is not at all what she had hoped for. Julie becomes a part of the fantasy world called GINGERTOWN.

Redda Pinesky, the town gossip, Ronnie Barkwood , the wannabe standup comic, and Jose Éclair, the celebrity makeover stylist to the stars, are just a few of the colorful characters that she encounters.

With many lessons of life and comical situations, it leads Julie on an amazing holiday adventure.

Gillam wrote the book in his free time while working as a freelance designer. His book took eight years to complete. Gillam spent many years in New York working for independent film, television, ballet and theater companies as a costume and set designer.

Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, T-Fal, Creed, Ralph Lauren, Morris Zand Advertising, Remax, & Circle Visual, are just a few of his many commercial clients. Most recently he’s been designing for the Manhattan School of Music’s opera department.

A promotional book tour was recently launched. Northeast stops have included the Erie County Fair Grounds Festival of Lights, and Adam’s Nursery. Books are also available through the Lancaster High School Music Department and chorus as a student fund -raiser. Contact Gary Lee at the music director’s office for to purchase a book.

GINGERTOWN can also be found at Petals to Please and MEBSGAMES in the village, Henry’s Candy in Alden, and Vidler’s in East Aurora.

“I like his book,” said Marki. “It is great there is a local author that wrote about his history growing up in Lancaster.”

Lastly, Santa and his elf will be at the store so children can get their picture taken with him. Santa pictures are $3 and the money will be split between each group and donated to them as well. During the event, hot chocolate will be available for free.

“Everyone I talked to so far is just excited,” said Marki. “I hope a lot of people come out and join us.”

The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, at MEBGAMES, located at 30 Central Ave., Lancaster. For more information call 200-7876.

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