Purchasing the perfect gift will support local Waco charities at the Waco Junior League’s Deck the Halls Holiday Gift Market. This weekend, the gift market will combine early Christmas shopping with service.
The seventh annual event will be held at the Waco Convention Center through Sunday with different activities each day. Vendors from more than 15 different states will be coming to set up shop at the market.
There will be a wide range of items such as clothes, jewelry, stocking stuffers, food vendors and unique gifts.
The Junior League expects between 7 and 10 thousand shoppers over the four days the market is open, said Beth Armstrong, Chair of Deck the Hall.
The event is expected to bring in $170,000, which will go toward nine charities that the Junior League supports.
The Junior League, an organization of women that volunteer their time in the community, hopes to empower women and children through the charities they support.
“We try to help families that at this point in their lives are struggling with basic needs,” Armstrong said. “We try to fill in the gap for them.”
These projects include Teen Suicide, Kids in the Kitchen, The Backpack Program, Lead Empower and Promote Self-Esteem, Talitha Koum and other reading and summer camp programs.
The Junior League has a vision for making sure community members are involved in improving their city.
“We start a program and pass it off to other organizations so that we can start new programs, which has been really beneficial for the lives of women and children,” said Holly Dunham, Vice President of Fund Development.
The Backpack Program, which finds the most needy children in McLennan County and provides them with a backpack full of food to take home over the weekend, is one example of the legacy that the Junior League has left on the Waco community.
The program began when North Waco Elementary noticed that many students were not being fed enough and asked Junior League members to help.
The program has since expanded to serve thousands of students in the area.
“It’s a great organization that supports the neediest people in McLennan County, especially kids that arrive at school Monday morning hungry and have a hard time learning because of that,” Armstrong said.
Other charities similar to The Backpack Program will be supported with the proceeds from the market.
Times for the market vary according to each event, and a complete schedule of events can be found at www.jlwacoshopping.com.
Friday will start with a ladies brunch at 9 a.m. and fashion show at 10 a.m. Later in the afternoon, there will be a gingerbread house event for kids, and photos with Santa at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday’s event will be Brunch with Santa from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market will finish with a Mother Daughter Tea from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The holiday gift market and vendors will be open throughout the weekend and is open to the public to shop.
Tickets are available at the convention center the day of the event.