Held the last Thursday before Christmas break, the Christmas Marketplace is an annual tradition at CTSFW, put on by the Food & Clothing Co-op and so generously supported by all of you. This year, $48,240 went to 136 students, each single student or family receiving $340 in gift cards. More was still coming in, including a significant check just that morning; Katherine Rittner, Director of the Co-ops, guessed that, including all of the last-minute giving, the total would end up being right around $58,000 in gift cards and cash. The extra $10,000 will either be distributed later as more gift cards, or saved as emergency funds for our students and their families in the case of unexpected need.
Another major part of the the Christmas Marketplace are the quilts gifted to our students from LWMLs, congregations, sewing circles, and other groups and individuals from across the LCMS. Each family receives one of these quilts each year while they are with us. One student explained how he had been here long enough for each of his children to pick out their own (this year’s was a pink one for one of his daughters). The quilts are displayed in two rooms during the Marketplace so that the students can choose their favorite to take home.
The Co-op also provided food, door prizes (names drawn out of a bowl by Dr. Gieschen, our Academic Dean), and large gift bags. The students put themselves into the drawing for these 16 gift bags, choosing which ones appealed to them. The bags tend to be themed along certain lines, like kitchen supplies (I overhead one student explaining the Marketplace to his wife by reminding her that this was where he’d gotten her crock pot), baking, home items, toys for children, games, and the like.
God’s richest blessings to all of you as Advent quickly rushes toward Christmas! Our students are headed off for Christmas break, and Winter Quarter will resume on January 7. We’ll be taking a break from daily chapel during the next couple of weeks, though we’ll keep the morning devotions going along with the Scripture readings while they’re gone. Thank you again for your generous support and care for our future church workers!