COLUMBIA, S.C. — A local organization is using holiday shopping to not only boost small businesses but to raise money to help the community.
At the state fairgrounds, Christmas cheer and gifts galore have taken over indoors. The Junior League of Columbia is hosting its annual Holiday Market, which features local vendors.
“Last year, we had to take the year off because of COVID and a lot of our merchants struggled during that time," co-chair of the event, Jennifer Blackhurst, said. "So, I think everyone is super happy to be getting back to normal, for them to be able to make money and support their families.”
The market boosts sales for small businesses, and co-chair Ferris DeTreville shared that it also helps the community in a bigger way.
“Holiday Market is our largest fundraiser. So, every dime that we raise will go right back into the hands of our community partners," said DeTreville.
The League raises money through ticket sales and booth rentals to give back to local nonprofits.
“We work with Epworth Children's Home," Blackhurst said. "A lot of the organizations we work with benefit women and children. And we also offer grants in the community where they’re needed.”
On average, organizers said the five-day event raises $250,000.
"[That money] could be funneled toward a grant program, it could be funneled to our healthy kids in the kitchen initiative, it could be funneled toward a program for Epworth - however it’s needed," said DeTreville.
Blackhurst added that they host a back-to-school program where they give out backpacks with school supplies in the fall to kids in need.
Shopping for a cause and family-fun activities continue Sunday. Plus, Santa will be coming to town for pictures with the kids.
The Holiday Market runs from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, and tickets are $8. They can be bought at the door or online.