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Central Tampa News

Team creates Forest Hills Presbyterian annual holiday bazaar


Published:   |   Updated: October 10, 2013 at 02:27 PM

FOREST HILLS — Some members of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church spend their weekends picking up discarded furniture and other items.

They call it “Junkin' for Jesus,” and that “trash” is turned into treasures, with crafters working months on repurposing, and using hundreds of boxes of donated craft supplies.

The finished products — dog beds from old coffee tables, fall decorations of baskets and artificial flowers, Christmas tree ornaments out of buttons and light bulbs, wall hangings from rolls of burlap, freshly laundered vintage linens and more — will be featured at the church's annual Holiday Bazaar on Oct. 19.

The event draws hundreds of shoppers who want the handmade items as well as antiques, collectibles, plants, garden accessories and fresh vegetables for sale.

About $20,000 is raised each year for local and international mission programs such as Trinity Cafe, Dr. Sylvia Campbell Medical Missions in Haiti, Beth-El Farmworkers Mission, Church Women United Clothes Closet and for backpacks with school supplies.

Crafters attend morning or evening work sessions weekly to create the items, which will be priced at $1 and up. Other church members and friends volunteer to help set up, sort through hundreds of boxes of donated items, prepare and serve food, make jams and jellies to sell, or keep the mailing list of more than 500 names who receive advance flyers and emails prior to the actual event, which is under the direction of Sheri Webb.

“Everybody does what they do best,” said Jennifer Gregory, who coordinates the craft projects and uses Pinterest, an online service, to find ideas.

She calls Pinterest a “gift from God” and it allows the bazaar to offer “something really new and different each year.”

Claudia Henderson, who has been pastor of the church for a little more than a month, said she is amazed at the work for the bazaar.

“We have some of the most talented people on the face of the Earth,” Henderson said. “Can you imagine that they take what other people have discarded and turn it into something beautiful?”

On a recent Tuesday night, Sonja Dickie was among those working on projects. She has been doing so for 10 years.

“It's just fun; we talk, we laugh and you get to know more people,” Dickie said.

Gregory said crafters work as a team, “because what one person can't figure out, another person can.”

Gregory said the craft team makes an annual trip to the Florida Gourd Festival to buy gourds to decorate.

It also holds two yard sales each year to raise money for the supplies that aren't available through donations or by finding discards.

“The hardest thing about preparing is the pricing,” Gregory said. “We want to make it affordable and have people come get it as a treasure they want to have.”

The bazaar also includes a pancake breakfast that starts at 8 a.m. and a hot dog lunch that starts at 11:30 a.m.

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