Julie Hill of SCMS said, “We are reserving booth space for $10 and renting tables for $5. All proceeds from renting the booths will be applied to our Santa Shop fund. This will be a great opportunity for crafters, small businesses and people looking to hold a yard sale.
“We are advertising the Fall Marketplace on social media, by word of mouth and other ways we can get the word out. Old Alabama Road gets a lot of traffic and we believe this will be a busy day,” Hill said.
For eight years, SCMS has opened the Santa Shop before the break for winter holidays and allowed students to select free gifts for adults.
Hill said, “I got the idea from watching a news story. It was nearing the holidays during the economic downturn. The story talked about the effect the hard economic times and the holidays had on children. We wanted to do something for the kids to make them feel like they were able to give back to their caregivers. This is not for students to pick out gifts for themselves.”
The Santa Shop is set up to resemble a department store with sections for ladies, men, housewares and Christmas items. Some of the more popular gifts chosen by the children are candles, lotion and body accessories, scarves, hats, cologne, books and sunglasses.
“The biggest moment for anyone who helps in the shop is when the sixth-graders, who have never been before, show up. They line up outside the door and when they come in for the first time the looks on their faces are priceless,” Hill said.
Before the students leave the shop, volunteers and staff wrap the presents and prepare them to be transported home.
Assistant Principal Tia Hawkins said, “We really want to make sure with the Santa Shop the students have the opportunity to experience that great feeling you get from giving presents to those you love. It also teaches them the importance of giving to others and not just receiving. Also, we want to them to see that we care about them and want to help them outside of school, too.
“We see the Fall Marketplace not just as a fundraiser for the Santa Shop, but also a way to bring the community together and allow them to see get involved with the school.”