LAKEWOOD — The Faith Lutheran Church in Lakewood drew hundreds of shoppers and thousands of dollars during its annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 16, which will go to help needy families in the area throughout the winter holidays.
Tami Liden has chaired the event for the past 11 years, but it's been in her family for three decades, and while this year's estimated take of $2,500 was more modest than previous peaks, such as the year that it raised nearly $6,000, she still considers this a more than generous sum, considering the current economy.
"We're just happy to be able to help anybody," said Liden, who explained that the monies raised from this event will go toward Lakewood, Arlington and Marysville families identified by their respective school districts and food banks. "We've taken on board anywhere from 10 to 24 families a year in the past, depending on the need and our available resources."
"We'll probably be able to provide for at least a dozen families this year," said Dee Collins, one of Liden's fellow volunteers, who sold evergreen swags at this year's Holiday Bazaar. "We must have had about 300 people come by for this year's event. The floor was crowded all the time. That makes it more fun."
Liden credited roughly 20 volunteers with handcrafting the seasonal goods that were sold at this year's Holiday Bazaar, and confidently predicted that those volunteers would start preparing for next year's event by commencing work on its gift items the day after this year's Holiday Bazaar.
"Tami always encourages us by saying, 'You've only got so many months until next year's event,'" Collins laughed, before turning serious. "We try and keep the same families through Thanksgiving and Christmas, but those aren't the only times of the year that we donate to the community."
"We pitch in for domestic violence shelters and safe transitional housing for kids throughout the year," Liden said. "It feels good to be able to do it."
Collins praised Liden for her work as chair of the event, and echoed her sentiments about how much the act of giving warms her heart.
"When you're able to give these Christmas gifts to moms who would otherwise have nothing to give their families, the tears run down your face," Collins said. "Their need is just so great."
The Faith Lutheran Church is located at 1724 172nd St. NE in Lakewood.