For more than 20 years, the Pre-Christmas Craft Show has provided students in need with everything from a new pair of shoes, prom necessities, basic food for meals and even coverage for dual credit classes or scholarships.
This year’s purpose won’t be any different, with about 90 to 100 craft vendors and an expected intake of $4,000 for the Students in Need (or formally known as the Sunshine) club, Kim Kriegel, a retired WISD teacher and current WISD board member. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, vendor booths will line the main hall of WHS, going from H-E-B to Walmart, she said. About $4,000 has been raised each year, with the first 12 or 13 years going toward a scholarship and the last eight or so going to students in need, she said.
“It’s just a way that we make money, so that we’re able to help our kids that need assistance,” she said.
The craft vendors follow similar guidelines to that of the Junior Service League’s show at the Waxahachie Civic Center, with everything from antiques to vintage décor, wood carvings, a homemade baker, floral décor and wreaths, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas related tables, she said. Items typically run $10 to $15, but pricing is left up to the vendors, she said.
“Anything you can imagine, we pretty much have,” she said, adding it’s perfect for some Christmas present shopping. “That’s why we call it the Pre-Christmas Craft Show, to help people get started on their Christmas shopping. Back when I started it, people weren’t starting Christmas yet. Now, people are halfway through.”
Last year, 1,500 shoppers came through the show and that’s the hope for this year as well, she said. Vendors will begin setting up at 7 a.m.
“My favorite part is in the morning on Saturday. Everything is set up and everything is ready for the vendors to come in and you can just see all the faces and everything,” she said. “When the vendors are moving their things in, the baseball team helps move items in, so that’s a big deal. The vendors are so appreciative of that.”
The WHS baseball team started helping out about eight years ago when Kriegel approached him, varsity head coach Tracy Wood said.
“She asked me about it, and because we have a big amount of manpower, I said my guys absolutely would,” he said. “So, every year we go from about 7 a.m. to about 9 a.m. and we help the ladies with their stuff. It’s just a very small way for us to give back a little bit. That’s all it is, and we talk to our kids about that — about giving back. In the big scheme of things, it’s really not a lot to take two hours out of your day. It will be really cold that morning, so you got to get up and get out in the cold, but it’s just a small way to give back.”
That’s the whole purpose behind the show, Kriegel reiterated — to give back and help those in need. Other students who want to help volunteer can show up at the event at about 7:30 a.m. to be signed up for community service hours, she said.
“We’ve helped kids with tuition at Navarro. We’ve helped kids with anything they need,” she said. “This year alone we’ve helped buy a kid a pair of shoes because his shoes were worn out. We’ve bought a lot of food, because we have a lot of kids who are called ‘couch surfers,’ where they don’t stay anyone one place. We give them a little bag of food to carry with them, so that way when they’re staying with these people, they don’t have to be a burden to them. We’ve paid for lunches.”
If a student is homeless, he or she gets their lunch free, but the process can take five days to two weeks. So, the club will pay for those lunches. More than 50 percent of WISD students are economically disadvantaged, according to a previous Waxahachie Daily Light articles. She didn’t know how many students were currently homeless, but as of press time, the club has given food to about 90 students, Kriegel said.
“Money should never be a hindrance to a student success,” she said. “That’s our main goal, because we have so many kids.”
Those who want to shop at the event will be asked to donate $1 at the door. Shoppers will then get a ticket they can tear in half to enter into a door prize contest. Winners are drawn hourly. The show will also feature a grand prize drawing of a $100. Shopper who go to all four corners of the show hallway will get a sticker, one of those lucky shoppers will be determined as the winner.
Beyond Kriegel, club committee members include Megan Mills, Chrisanna Melick, Beverly Swett, Carol Ann Hewson, Robert Woodhouse and Tiffany Cotten.
Waxahachie High School is located at 1001 U.S. Highway 77 North.