Not even a pandemic was going to stop this outpouring of support. Instead of a holiday bazaar, it’s more like a summer bonanza.
Longtime supporters of the Faith Lutheran Preschool in Sequim host a gift basket and tag sale set for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the preschool, 354 W. Cedar St.
For years, church members and community members have donated items to an annual holiday bazaar to fund scholarships and other costs of running the school.
One event, preschool director/teacher Kathy Moore recalled, raised $15,000 alone.
However, bazaars in 2020 and 2021 were canceled thanks to the COVID outbreak and resulting pandemic.
As volunteers Jackie Dawley and Karen Adams noted last week, that didn’t stop people from donating for the next event.
“Repurpose, renew, recycle … we don’t throw anything away if we think we can use it,” said Jane Thompson, an event organizer. “None of it comes in together.”
With some help from supporters — including owners of the Olympic Peninsula/Port Angeles KOA Journey, whose shipping container was filled to two-thirds capacity at one point, Thompson said — event organizers found space as the donations began to accumulate, and so volunteers decided to go big this August with a summer bazaar.
Walking through the preschool’s multipurpose room inundated with baskets overflowing with items — some finished and neatly wrapped with ribbons and bows, others not quite complete — Thompson noted dozens of baskets sporting varying themes, from “dinner for two” to “Christmas dinner” to a plethora of education-themed bundles, as well an entire table filled with spa-themed items, packaged and decorated by Adams.
“Some of this is brand new, unopened, never used,” Thompson said.
Normally a group of volunteers would meet for a couple of weeks prior to a Christmastime bazaar to prep, but for this event, the primary group that include Adams, Dawley, Thompson, Molly Christianson and Wendy Merrill started several weeks ago, getting together at least three times a week to prepare.
“There are so many people behind this,” Thompson said, from contributing items, money and other support to things like sorting ribbons or finding baskets. She and fellow volunteer Misty Groth come in twice a week to help sort items and clean up a bit.
Now, Thompson said, the youth are getting in on the effort. Youngsters Kalleigh Thompson and Abigail Stites lend a hand, not only creating their own baskets but teaching youngsters as young as 5 to do the same, event organizers said.
“It’s truly a congregational effort,” Thompson said.
Adams and Dawley said the “work” of putting the baskets together has had unexpected benefits beyond the funds raised; they’ve become close friends despite different backgrounds.
The preschool, a concept on so-called “vision lists” at the church for several years, opened its doors in September 1994, beginning with morning classes for 3- and 4-year-olds, and later offering morning and afternoon classes that continue today. Each class has a teacher and teacher’s aide.
The preschool is on the site of Faith Lutheran’s old parsonage, a structure that was torn down to build two large classrooms, as well as a multipurpose building that serves the school and older youth activities.