A random thought while driving sparked a mission for Jon Croft.
The owner of Croft Communications in Culpeper was driving along one day when he thought “what could I do for kids at Christmas?”
His mind immediately turned to the new business in Brandy Station, Bounce With Us, and the Christmas RockOut Party was born.
“I was driving one day to Winchester, and had a thought - I just want to bring a bunch of kids out here and let them bounce,” Croft said. “They took it from there. Then Billy Frederick called me and said he was looking to feed a bunch of people for the holidays and I told him about my event and we put it all together.”
Bounce With Us owner Jami Towne, who opened early in November along Brandy Road in Brandy Station, was immediately open to the idea.
“I thought it was an amazing idea,” Towne said. “We just knew we had to find people to ‘adopt’ these kids and purchase gifts for them.”
Croft went to work connecting sponsors, bringing in Sandy’s Face Painting, Billy Frederick with Central Virginia Insurance, His Village Church and Harmony DJs.
The event came together quickly, only taking two weeks to formulate. On Dec. 23, the group of businesses welcomed 18 children to open presents, have dinner and bounce.
Children were invited through a local daycare and they provided the organizers with a list of a gift they wanted and a gift they needed.
“One of the people I go to His Village Church with, she works at a daycare and we gave her the flyer and she went through her daycare which is supplemented,” Croft said.
Towne said she posted on her business page but she got a greater response when she posted it on her personal Facebook page. She and manager Brandi Barnes were impressed with the response.
“I have three teenagers, I’m a single mom, I love giving to the kids, I think every kid should be afforded opportunities,” Barnes said. “My kids have been there, they’ve been in that situation at one point. Now that they do, they enjoy giving back.”
Volunteers quickly organized, with more than 10 joining on and helping provide the kids with a Christmas they won’t forget.
“I was very pleased with how many people were willing to help these children and give back to the community,” Towne said.
All the people who donated got a free bounce pass as well.
“They answered the call quickly, it just blossomed,” Croft said.
Frederick said that next year, he’s told his children and their friends that it’s their turn to set it up - in an effort to teach the importance of giving at Christmas season.
“It’s important to teach our kids to give back and it’s important to reach the people who could use a hand up,” Frederick said. “Jon’s a great resource because he knows everybody. I had called him and told him we were having trouble reaching the people we needed to reach. Later that day he called the bounce house and she answered the call right away.”