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Christmas Market Makes a Difference: Hanover Holiday Bazaar Helps Poor Worldwide

  • Volunteer Heather Benson, of Norwich, Vt., reaches for the sign that volunteer Joan Schaafsma, of Thetford, Vt. was handing her before the start of the Christmas Market With a Difference in Hanover, N.H, on Nov. 7, 2013, at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Volunteer Heather Benson, of Norwich, Vt., reaches for the sign that volunteer Joan Schaafsma, of Thetford, Vt. was handing her before the start of the Christmas Market With a Difference in Hanover, N.H, on Nov. 7, 2013, at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Shoppers Kristen Gustavson, of Etna, N.H, left and Nikki Hill, of Sunapee, N.H., were at the market on Nov. 7, 2013. They had come to the market for the first time last year. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Shoppers Kristen Gustavson, of Etna, N.H, left and Nikki Hill, of Sunapee, N.H., were at the market on Nov. 7, 2013. They had come to the market for the first time last year.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Felted hand puppets were on sale at the Christmas Market With a Difference, in Hanover N.H. held at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth on Nov. 7, 3013. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Felted hand puppets were on sale at the Christmas Market With a Difference, in Hanover N.H. held at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth on Nov. 7, 3013.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • At the Christmas Market With a Differnece in Hanover, N.H., volunteer Martha Robb, of Etna, N.H. chats with Easter Colby, of Hanover, N.H. at the market on Nov. 7, 2013. Colby was shopping that day, but would be volunteering at the market later in the week. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    At the Christmas Market With a Differnece in Hanover, N.H., volunteer Martha Robb, of Etna, N.H. chats with Easter Colby, of Hanover, N.H. at the market on Nov. 7, 2013. Colby was shopping that day, but would be volunteering at the market later in the week.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • At the Christmas Market With A Differnce in Hanover, N.H on Nov. 7, 2013, Skylar Byrne of Etna, N.H. stands by her mother with basket in hand about to go into the market.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    At the Christmas Market With A Differnce in Hanover, N.H on Nov. 7, 2013, Skylar Byrne of Etna, N.H. stands by her mother with basket in hand about to go into the market.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Market volunteer  Charlotte Quimby, of Lebanon, N.H., reaches out to say hello to fellow volunteer Carlette Nevers of Hanover, N.H. on Nov. 7, 2013. Next to them is Carla Bailey the pastor at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H.. They were helping to check shoppers out. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Market volunteer Charlotte Quimby, of Lebanon, N.H., reaches out to say hello to fellow volunteer Carlette Nevers of Hanover, N.H. on Nov. 7, 2013. Next to them is Carla Bailey the pastor at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H.. They were helping to check shoppers out.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • On Nov. 5, 2013 a couple of days before the  market starts founder Jean Sibley of Etna, N.H holds onto her clipboard while working with volunteers Heather Benson of Norwich, Vt., left, and Joan Schaafsma, of Thetford, Vt. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    On Nov. 5, 2013 a couple of days before the market starts founder Jean Sibley of Etna, N.H holds onto her clipboard while working with volunteers Heather Benson of Norwich, Vt., left, and Joan Schaafsma, of Thetford, Vt. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Volunteer Heather Benson, of Norwich, Vt., reaches for the sign that volunteer Joan Schaafsma, of Thetford, Vt. was handing her before the start of the Christmas Market With a Difference in Hanover, N.H, on Nov. 7, 2013, at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Shoppers Kristen Gustavson, of Etna, N.H, left and Nikki Hill, of Sunapee, N.H., were at the market on Nov. 7, 2013. They had come to the market for the first time last year. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Felted hand puppets were on sale at the Christmas Market With a Difference, in Hanover N.H. held at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth on Nov. 7, 3013. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • At the Christmas Market With a Differnece in Hanover, N.H., volunteer Martha Robb, of Etna, N.H. chats with Easter Colby, of Hanover, N.H. at the market on Nov. 7, 2013. Colby was shopping that day, but would be volunteering at the market later in the week. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • At the Christmas Market With A Differnce in Hanover, N.H on Nov. 7, 2013, Skylar Byrne of Etna, N.H. stands by her mother with basket in hand about to go into the market.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Market volunteer  Charlotte Quimby, of Lebanon, N.H., reaches out to say hello to fellow volunteer Carlette Nevers of Hanover, N.H. on Nov. 7, 2013. Next to them is Carla Bailey the pastor at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H.. They were helping to check shoppers out. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • On Nov. 5, 2013 a couple of days before the  market starts founder Jean Sibley of Etna, N.H holds onto her clipboard while working with volunteers Heather Benson of Norwich, Vt., left, and Joan Schaafsma, of Thetford, Vt. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Hanover — For shoppers in search of variety and the chance to support a good cause, the holiday bazaar at Church of Christ at Dartmouth College offers thousands of items made by nonprofits and impoverished artists across the globe.

Last week, the Christmas Market with a Difference sprawled across two big rooms in the church. A few folding tables comprised the cafe area, but most of the space was taken up by tables piled with all sorts of crafts — colorful baskets, toys, linens, greeting cards — many made from recycled materials.

Celeste Campos-Castillo, of Quechee, stopped in with a friend on Thursday.

In her shopping basket were a cheese plate made from recycled glass and a package of chocolates, a gift for her parents in California. Campos-Castillo, who was visiting the market for the first time, said it gave her “a feel-good sensation.”

“You’re buying items that are one of a kind … and at the same time helping out a cause,” she said.

Proceeds from the annual bazaar go directly to the artists themselves and to nonprofits that support families in need. This year’s sale, which ended Saturday, will benefit 18 organizations, including Cocoa Farmers Future Initiative in Grenada, Health in Harmony in Indonesia, and, closer to home, The Family Place, which provides education and support to struggling parents. The Norwich nonprofit’s wares, made by young single moms, included necklaces boasting an elegant, if surprising motif — silver-colored beads shaped like Cheerios.

“They always use a Cheerio as a symbol of motherhood,” said organizer Amy Smith.

Last year, 125 volunteers worked a total of 1,200 hours on the event. In addition to setting up the displays, they make soup and desserts, which are sold at the market to cover the cost of the sale.

“This is a mission I think everyone in the church gets pretty excited about,” Smith said.

The market sprang from an idea pitched by church member Jean Sibley. Sibley and her husband, a surgeon, served as missionaries for 26 years. While living overseas, she and a coworker helped set up knitting cooperatives in Nepal and Korea. Later, they started one in Canaan and Enfield. With the knitted items piling up, Sibley suggested selling them after a Sunday service. The idea caught on, and within a few weeks it expanded to include other “bona fide organizations that needed help,” she said. The first Christmas Market with a Difference, held in 1987, involved about half a dozen nonprofits.

Sibley’s daughter, Annie O’Brien, describes the market as a “cycle of blessings” that includes the artisans, those who receive their work as gifts, and the shoppers themselves, who pay “a really reasonable price for something beautiful that is going to benefit someone.”

“I think it meets a hunger that people have to do good,” said O’Brien, who travels from Maine each fall for the sale.

Over the years, “the word has spread,” said Sibley, 87.

Now, the three-day event draws shoppers from throughout New England and raises between $60,000 and $70,000.

“I didn’t have the idea of anything like this,” she said. “I just wanted to sell sweaters.”

For more information, or to receive notices about next year’s sale, go to www.ccdcucc.org/cmwad/.

Aimee Caruso can be reached at acarusso@vnews.com or 603-727-3210.