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Niagara Falls
Friday, February 3, 2023
Christmas with Heart helps two charities


The Christmas with Heart market supports great causes and that’s one of the reasons Andrea Wood of Alpaca Niagara is happy to keep coming back.

Wood was one of the 35 vendors taking part in the market at Cornerstone Community Church on Hunter Road last Saturday.

All proceeds and donations raised go to two charities: Hamilton’s Ronald McDonald House and Karubabi Harvest School in Burundi.

Co-ordinator Chris Gillespie, who organized the show with her daughter Paige Rutherford, said the reason Ronald McDonald House was chosen is because when Gillespie’s grandson was three months old he had a severe illness and his parents had to stay at the house while the baby was in the hospital.

“So, it’s obviously very dear to our hearts,” Gillespie said. Her grandson is seven now and is doing well.

The Karubabi school, which is a private Christian school, has students who often are the first in their family to receive education, Gillespie said. The students, many of whom travel a long distance to get to school, also get a meal a day at the school.

Last year the church donated $1,500 to the school which allowed it to buy solar lights as there’s no electricity there.

This year, the money raised will help build two basketball courts.

Saturday’s raffle table included prizes donated by all vendors and many NOTL businesses, and the bake table had homemade goods prepared by church members.

The show was pulled together thanks to many church and community volunteers as well as nine Vineridge Academy students who have come out to help, Gillespie said.

416 Coffee Co. and Infusion Tea provided free coffee and tea, but any donations will go to the charities. The community centre’s Sweets and Swirls Café also provided lunch.

Cheese Secrets and Sweets Mama’s Pastries and Preserves contributed extra funding to help cover expenses, said Gillespie.

“And we’re very grateful to Cornerstone church for giving us space,” she told The Lake Report. “It’s much busier this year. We’re very grateful for that.”

“It’s gone better than we could’ve hoped it was going,” Rutherford added. “We’ve had a lot of people through. We had a lot of positive comments and I think the raffle table has done better than last year.”

Wood also complimented the show and organizers who, along with volunteers, did a great job orchestrating the event and “really knew” how to take care of vendors.

“Volunteers helped me set up the table and carry items from my car,” Wood said. “They offered tea and coffee, they rolled a red carpet for us. The event has a great cause behind it and I’m happy to support it.”

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