On “Misfit Lane,” otherwise known as Glantz Drive, colorful holiday lights blaze as bright as the full moon rising on the horizon. The comfortable homes are decorated with Christmas trees and snowmen, and each lawn features a large cutout misfit toy character from the movie “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Santa Claus will have no trouble finding these rooftops.
It’s the chimneys of kids less fortunate that concern two 12-year-old girls who live in the neighborhood, where gifts already are on display.
“Every kid should have a present under the tree,” said Ashley Voegele, a sixth-grader at Big Sky Elementary School who lives on Glantz Drive.
To help make that happen, Ashley and her friend Ashlyn Hardy cook up hot chocolate and sell it from Ashley’s house to the parade of vehicles that visit “Misfit Lane” during the holidays to see the decorations.
“We get so many cars,” Ashlyn said.
The girls use all of the proceeds to buy toys and donate them to Toys for Tots program, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Ashley and Ashlyn will be selling hot chocolate on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9. To get there, drive west on Central Avenue and turn south onto 37th Street West. Turn left onto Mount Rushmore Avenue, then right onto Muir Woods and right onto Glantz. A big yard sign welcomes you to Misfit Lane.
The Voegeles’ house is straight ahead, outlined in lights with the big snowman in the yard and a Christmas countdown clock by the front door.
You can’t miss it.
Ashley and Ashlyn will be wearing aprons, taking orders and serving hot chocolate from trays to the cars. The girls give candy canes as thank-yous. Their parents keep the hot chocolate machine running in the garage and will have a fire pit burning in the driveway.
Friday night will be the girls’ fourth year of fundraising. And it gets bigger every year.
Despite temperatures of minus-15 degrees last year, sales were hot. A trolley full of sightseers came through and everyone bought hot chocolate. The girls raised $2,400 during the evening and filled a garage with toys. The Marines had to make two trips.
The first year, the girls, then 8 years old, raised $600. They doubled the amount the second year and doubled it again last year. They ask for $1 a cup but aren’t sticklers. Any amount large or small is welcome.
The friends came up with idea to sell hot chocolate after seeing the Toys for Tots commercial in which a little boy hands a Marine a wish list, hoping the soldier is Santa Claus, Ashlyn said. The girls realized that less-fortunate kids may not get Christmas presents and wanted to help, she said.
Along with support from their parents, Kristi and David Voegele and Gina and Todd Hardy, Ashley and Ashlyn recruit the aid of their younger sisters and get help from their classmates, organizations and businesses with donation jars.
After the money is collected, the girls go shopping at Target. They select a variety of toys for boys and girls, from infants to teens.
In recognition of their contribution, the Marines surprised the girls at their school by presenting them with certificates and plaques of appreciation.
“We just want to help our community,’’ Ashley said. “It all goes for local kids.’’