Christmas is a time of bringing people together. And Saturday’s Community Holiday Market at the Garth Homer Centre is doing just that.
The market will feature everything from crafts and jewelry to Christmas treats and baked goods, bringing together vendors who operated at the Schoolhouse Market over the summer with people from Garth Homer’s self-employment program.
“We’ve done a Christmas market for a few years with the self-employment program,” said Sandy Sifert, a job coach with Garth Homer Society. “We only have so many vendors, but we certainly have the space.”
That led to Garth Homer teaming up with vendors from the Schoolhouse Market, which operated on the lawn of the Craigflower Schoolhouse over the summer but had limited options once the weather began to turn.
“We thought why not work together,” said Caitlynn Neal, head co-ordinator with the Schoolhouse Market.
She said the Schoolhouse Market was started because vendors were having difficulty getting into Victoria’s other markets and were forced to travel up-Island to sell their wares.
“The idea behind the Schoolhouse Market is to provide opportunity to everybody because the markets in Victoria are so exclusive and there’s not a lot of opportunity for everybody, so we wanted to make it open.”
The vendors from the Schoolhouse Market will be at the Dec. 10 market alongside vendors from Garth Homer’s self-employment program as well as those from similar programs with some of their community partners.
“We had large space but not the amount of vendors to fill it up, and she had a large list of vendors. This is an inclusive space for all vendors,” said Ryan Lainchbury, a job coach with Garth Homer Society. “There’s lots of unique small businesses that people wouldn’t come across at one of the larger markets.”
And the varied nature of the vendors promises shoppers should be able to find something for under just about any Christmas tree.
“People can find just about anything from your typical Tupperware and Sensi to handmade crocheted items, baked goods, samosas,” said Neal. “You can find something for a lot of people.”
Sifert says the market is a perfect fit for the self-employment program introduced at Garth Homer about a year ago.
“Our clients involved in this, they came into this program with a talent and something they just liked to do. Seeing the progression in them from a year ago to where they are today, it’s just night and day,” she said.
The market runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin Ave. Admission is $2 or a donation of canned goods (children under 12 are free), with the first 25 people getting in free. The proceeds will go towards Garth Homer programs, with food donations going to Mustard Seed.