NEWMARKET — It’s a place to buy gifts, a gathering place for friends and neighbors, an almost century-old tradition, but more than anything, the Newmarket Community Church Christmas Fair Saturday provides a chance to help out those in need.
The fair, Saturday, Dec. 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., features gifts from local businesses, candles, and crafts. There are homemade holiday treats and homemade fudge and raffles galore, said Marilyn Allen, chairwoman of the fair. A prize is raffled off every hour, she said.
The fair begins with breakfast sandwiches and blueberry pancakes. Lunch features the church’s famous fish chowder and steaming hot corn chowder served up by retired teacher Greg Thayer and his team.
A professional photographer is on hand to take photos of children with Santa, and for only $8 the buyer can walk away with the digitally printed and framed photos on the spot.
The proceeds from the fair help keep the church doors open to those in need.
Rev. Patty Marsden, pastor of the white church in the center of town, said that people in need knock on her door almost every day of the week. “We are in constant need of money to help our fellow townspeople,” said Marsden.
One day last week, it was a 32-year-old man who suddenly found himself homeless. “He had nothing but the clothes on his back,” said Marsden. She took him to the church thrift shop for clothing, then she went to the Rite Aid in town to buy him socks and underwear.
He began sobbing when she gave him clothes, said Marsden. “He is really trying to get his life together and he just started crying he was so appreciative.”
“We have constant requests for help,” she said. “A lot of people are living on the edge. No one expects to see themselves in this scenario,” she said. “But it happens.”
People need help with car repairs, housing, clothing, and of course, food. There’s the church food pantry and the thrift shop that are there to help. But money is required to fund the other needs.