For the past six years, the Chengdu International Women's Club (CIWC) has organized an annual Christmas Bazaar to provide a fun family day during the holidays and support local charities. Last year, the event raised RMB170,000, and this year, the organizers intend to top that. CIWC Christmas Bazaar Coordinator Kim Dallas tells us how it's done.
All photos by Cindy Pill, courtesy of CIWC
The Christmas Bazaar is now in its sixth year. What changes have you seen in the event over the years?
Every year we have seen an increase in attendance and vendors. Last year we had a wide variety of food vendors and an increased variety of vendors. Last year we also had other charities join in hopes to raise money through the sale of their merchandise. Since QSI has increased their size, we have been able to grow the bazaar as the community grows.
How many people and how many months are involved in organizing this event?
This year we had the best showing of volunteers from our CIWC community. We are running a committee of over 30 people. The actual day of the bazaar will bring out over 100 volunteers. We initially met in May to kick off this year's bazaar. The planning is not as difficult [as before]; many of our committee members have been on the committee for years.
Why did you choose to make the event centered around Christmas rather than a more generic "holiday" theme?
Originally the Christmas Bazaar was Karin Noll's brain child. She was the Director of QSI until last year and very active in the CIWC and community. She has lived and taught abroad, (mostly in the Middle East) for 30 years and had been organizing this type of event all over the world focused around "Christmas." I personally wanted to do the politically correct thing and call it the Holiday Bazaar, but due to the fact we are in an expat community with so many cultures, we thought naming it "Holiday" would be too confusing. Since most of the items, food and customs at the Christmas Bazaar have to do with Christmas, we left the name of our event the same.
How do you choose the charities you donate to? Does the committee vote to come to a consensus?
We ask all of the members to nominate charities, then we research them and the committee meets to vote. We select local charities that benefit people here in Sichuan as a way of giving back to the community we live in and try to choose those with low administrative costs to maximize the benefit of donations. For two years we supported projects in the earthquake area, and we have also helped projects in Tibetan and Yi ethnic areas and those working with orphans and providing medical care for children.
Is there anything new and exciting to look out for at this year's Christmas Bazaar?
I believe the entertainment is going to be fantastic! There will also be an area to sit down and eat your lunch while watching Christmas entertainment by Chengdu's international schools. Our charities will be on hand to answer questions. Our silent auction is always a hit with lots of vouchers for hotel stays, dinner, wines, gym memberships, and food. There will also be a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus!
The annual CIWC Christmas Bazaar takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 19 at QSI . Entrance is RMB25.