The holiday bazaar at Northampton Community College (NCC) began circa 2008, when many families were hit hard by a recession. Faculty and staff at NCC on the former Community Service Committee decide to provide students the opportunity to give gifts to loved ones during the holidays by donating new and gently used books, household items, jewelry, decorations, toys, electronics and more so students could “shop” for free during a difficult financial time for many. Now, during a pandemic, many students need the bazaar more than ever. Put on hold in 2020, the Bazaar is back this holiday season with safety and health of the shoppers and volunteers at top of mind.
NCC Receiving helps collect and store items before the event. During the bazaar, volunteers turn spaces at the Bethlehem and Monroe campuses and the Fowler Southside Center into small markets. Students can shop without the fear of not having enough money or running up debt. Instead, they can pick out donated items for free that they think would make the perfect gift for their loved ones during the holiday season. Students shop on their own, but they need a current student ID. Volunteers bag their items along with well wishes for the holiday season. Historically, NCC serves hundreds of students at each Bazaar.
“We have heard how student shoppers would not have had anything to give their families, loved ones or their children if not for the bazaar,” said Rebecca Reddin, administrative assistant in the Academic Affairs office, and one of the organizers of the event. “Knowing that individuals, families, and children, will have something under the tree this year who wouldn’t otherwise if it were not for the donations for the Holiday Bazaar is something truly beautiful.”
Faculty and staff are not the only ones who donate to the Holiday Bazaar. Friends and family of our NCC community donate items as well as former employees. Reddin says the bazaar is a tremendous display of kindness that says we care about all areas of our students’ lives and understand the sacrifices many of them make to pursue a college education.
“When we unpack the donations, you can feel the heart of NCC being lifted out of the boxes and bags and put on display saying you are why we are here. This event has touched thousands of students over the years.”
To Reddin, this event means a lot. As a single mother, she experienced her own financial strife when her daughter was only two years old.
“My heart was breaking thinking of not having something to give her over the holidays. A community organization had free shopping for people such as myself of donated and hand-crafted items. I was able to get her a gift there at no cost to me and the relief that came into my young mama’s heart will never be forgotten.”
Reddin says she has seen that happen at NCC’s Holiday Bazaar. It puts a beautiful, emotional punctuation mark on the end of the semester. It is NCC at its best.
This year, the Fowler Center bazaar will be held on December 8 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in room 633. On Monroe campus it will be held December 1-2, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. in Pocono 108, and Bethlehem’s bazaar will be held on December 14-15 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m in CC 114. Volunteers are still needed. Contact Reddin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved.