State College

Inaugural Christmas market benefits local families in need

Pastor Renee Ford talks about the Mommy Shoppe during The Houserville Christmas Market and Food Fair Sunday at the Houserville United Methodist Church.
Pastor Renee Ford talks about the Mommy Shoppe during The Houserville Christmas Market and Food Fair Sunday at the Houserville United Methodist Church. psheehan@centredaily.com

Live holiday music played on the piano Sunday set a festive tone for those walking into the first-ever Christmas Market and Food Fair, hosted by the Houserville United Methodist Church and the Mommy Shoppe.

Handmade crafts, custom-designed shirts, books, candles and umbrellas were some of the many items that were available for purchase. There was also a silent auction in which visitors could bid on items like Captain America comics, a chocolate cake and miscellaneous jewelry.

Amy Ritter, the operations and store manager of the Mommy Shoppe, said that part of the reason for having the Christmas market was to raise funds to help pay for the operational expenses of the church.

“The church has housed this from the beginning and gives us a place to hold our shop. There are bills that we want to help with to keep the shop open in the church,” Ritter said.

The aforementioned vendors paid a fee in order to have the a table at the event, which was one source of incoming money. Another source was the food fair. Ritter said that she was hoping to raise $500-$1,000.

“Any bit will help keep the church operational and keep the Mommy Shoppe open,” Ritter said.

The Mommy Shoppe operates out of the basement in the church and benefits families that may be struggling to get their children the clothes that they need. The shop, which began in August 2011, receives donations that are then sorted, organized and tagged. Families that would like to use some of what the Mommy Shoppe offers must first register. After the registration, those families are eligible to get a bag of clothes per child, per month for free. Other items, like hardware, are available for purchase as well.

“They’re less than yard-sale price. Everything is totally affordable. If they need a walker for their child then they should be able to find one for less than $5,” Ritter said.

Pastor Renee Ford said that the Mommy Shoppe benefits 60-80 families per month and is open on the third Saturday and following Monday of every month. While the shop’s popular items vary based on the needs of each individual family, Ford said that new socks, underwear and diapers are some of the items frequently needed.

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