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This year has been a crazy year to say the least for many both personally and in business. Covid-19 has touched almost everyone in one way or another. Being an owner of Teale’s Trinkets and Treasures, we have felt the different facets of how the pandemic has affected small businesses. 

With this in mind, we decided to host a Vendor Market in May of 2020 where the cost to set up was only $10 per booth. Of course that event had to be canceled. But that did not stop us from wanting to host another in the future. So this summer we hosted two free to vendor events, Christmas in July and Find it on Franklin in September. We also had decided to be aggressive and proactive and host events in October, November and December. The booth space again was only $10. If vendors had paid their non-refundable booth fee for the May show their fee could be transferred to any of these shows. 

May, October and November shows were sold out pretty quickly. The December show was on its way to being sold out. From the beginning I had wanted to donate any money received above and beyond the amount to pay the venue fees, to a local Randolph County Charity. We had suggestions such as scholarships, Christmas Food Baskets, Secret Families, etc.. Although these projects are extremely worthwhile, we thought about it and decided to do something that would reach a large amount of people. 

This holiday season 50 lucky children will have the opportunity to shop for their families, teachers or whoever they want at no charge thanks to some very generous merchants, vendors and independent consultants.  

Santa’s Helpers is a new project that will allow Randolph County Children ages 4-12 to come in and shop at no charge for gifts for those on their Christmas shopping list. Many times children would love to buy for their families, but the funds just are not there. This year we hope to help curb that issue. 

The format is very simple. Children will be able to sign up at The News Gazette office from now until Friday, November 20th.  Name, age, address and who they are buying for will be asked to better estimate what to purchase. All names will then go into a drawing and 50 children will be selected to shop on November 29th. On Saturday, November 21 those chosen will be contacted to let them know they have been selected, the location and time of the event.  They will then have until Monday, November 23 to confirm they will be able to participate.  There is no limit as to the amount of children from a family who can sign up but only two from the same family will be allowed to participate in the event. We want to adhere to social distancing guidelines and maintain a safe environment for those participating. Those 50 children chosen will be placed into another drawing to decide the shopping order. There will be no more than 15 children shopping at one time. All volunteers for the event will be wearing masks.  We do ask that the children wear masks as well.

On the day of the event, each child will be given the same amount of “elf bucks” to use when selecting gifts. Trying to support those vendors who were at the November show, we purchased items from them and they also were generous and donated extra items. Gift items will include home decor, candles, tools, gift cards, handcrafted items, walking sticks, toys and much more for them to choose from. Each item will be marked with the amount of “elf bucks” it will cost to purchase the item. Once they have found all their items, they will check out using their “elf bucks.” When they are finished shopping, they can gift wrap each item or we will do it for them.  

To purchase items with the remaining money, our next mission is to shop and give back as much as we can to local businesses. Our goal is to purchase a certain amount from various merchants with hopes they will then match the amount as well. With current donations and the remaining fees from the show, we will have approximately $1000 or more worth of items for the children to shop from depending on incoming donations. We will be contacting and visiting as many merchants as possible to see if they would like to participate.  We are working with a tight window due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but we are very confident that this project will be something that those participating in will remember for a very long time. 

Monetary donations as well as merchandise will be accepted at The News Gazette office until November 24th at noon. If you would like more information on the project or how you could donate please contact Leesa Friend-Teale at 765-584-4501. 

We would like to thank our sponsors for this event thus far: The News Gazette, Teale’s Trinkets and Treasures, Starlite Skating Rink, Jessica’s Bling with Papparazzi Jewelry, Leah Tolbert with Color Street Nails, Melton’s Tanning and Home Decor, Amanda Cox, Dennis Whitted, Steve Champ, Brandy Coffey, Donna Jones, Tammy Driscoll, Amy Slaven, and St. Vincent Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop.

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