Operation Christmas Child seeking vendors for August Fair

Claudia Loucks
Courtney (Emerick) Morrison, left, and Shelly Emerick, representing Operation Christmas Child outreach, are shown with some of the raffle items that have been donated and will be awarded in drawing at the upcoming Craft and Vendor Fair that benefits Operation Christmas Child. Shelly Emerick also shows some of the shoeboxes that need to be filled for the effort to be a success

It’s on a new date and it’s at a new location, but the Craft and Vendor Fair to benefit Operation Christmas Child (OCC) will happen this year.

Shelly Emerick, one of the volunteer coordinators of OCC, said there is a need for more vendors for the event scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28, in Geneseo City Park.

Emerick said the City Park site was chosen this year “due to Covid restrictions.”

“We did not want to hold the Fair at an indoor venue because we weren’t sure if we would have to limit the people who could come inside at any one time,” Emerick said. “The park is a perfect alternative this year.”

She said the Fair will feature a variety of vendors and crafters and there is still plenty of room for more. Anyone interested in participating should contact any of the three directors - Emerick, 309-945-3700, Courtney Morrison, at 309-373-5236, and Mercedes Bealer, 309-269-4294.

Vendors already signed up for the Fair include Better with Glitter,

Scentsy Fragrance, Beyond the Paint Color Street (nail art and polish strips), and). Vintage Farm-ish, A Spotted Apron, Out Yonder Boutique, Apples and Oranges Woodworking, Carla’s Crafts and Usbourne Books, and Perfectly Posh.

In addition to vendors, the day will include raffle drawings for items donated by the participating vendors and local businesses.

There also will be a food truck at the event, “The Big Cheese Food Truck,” with the food mechanic Doug Lear who will be offering food items for sale.

“Profits from hosting the Fair and from the raffles will be used to help cover shipping costs for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes,” Emerick said, explaining many times people donate shoeboxes filled with items, but not the $9 which covers shipping costs as well as “The Greatest Gift” booklets, which are packed in each shoebox and written in the language of the child receiving the shoebox.

Empty shoeboxes will be available at the Vendor Fair for anyone who would like to take a shoebox and fill it with items.

“We cannot use anything glass, liquid, camouflage or war-related, or any type of food,” Emerick said.

Operation Christmas Child is an outreach of Samaritan Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. The non-profit organization specializes in meeting the critical needs of victims of war, poverty, disease and natural disaster, in order to demonstrate God’s love and share the Gospel.

Collection Week will be from Nov. 15 through Nov. 22 at Geneseo Evangelical Free Church, with specific times to be announced.

Geneseo Evangelical Free Church has served as the drop off location for the last 11 years as the result of the efforts of David and Debra Jones, members of Geneseo Evangelical Free Church, who introduced Operation Christmas Child to their church congregation. David Jones is area coordinator of the Lower Midwest Region for Operation Christmas Child.

Emerick said Geneseo Evangelical Free Church has served as the drop off site longer than any other location in the Quad Cities and surrounding area.

Operation Christmas Child is a natural fit for the Emerick family as her husband, Doug Emerick, and their two children, Courtney (Emerick) Morrison and son, Michael, have made Operation Christmas Child a mission of the entire family for the last several years.

“We have always loved doing this project,” Emerick said. “I have a special place in my heart for kids and I love Christmas…This project puts the two together just perfectly.”

“We never know where any of the shoeboxes will end up, so it is up to God to deliver them to the right kids,” Emerick said. “That really shows that God is in charge of the project.”