Patrick Davies photo                                Carmen Schwarz’s baking table was filled to the brim at the Made in the Cariboo Artisan Craft and Artisan Fair held at the Tourism Discovery Centre in November.

Patrick Davies photo Carmen Schwarz’s baking table was filled to the brim at the Made in the Cariboo Artisan Craft and Artisan Fair held at the Tourism Discovery Centre in November.

Giving at the heart of Carmen’s Earlybird Christmas Craft Fair

When Carmen’s Earlybird Christmas Craft Fair is underway at the Elks Hall the first weekend in November each year, organizer Carmen Schwarz is always making a list and checking it twice.

That’s because one of the stipulations for the vendors to be in the fair is that they donate food or a small amount of cash toward food bank items for Pregnancy Outreach Society.

“I have a list and I hound people relentlessly,” Schwarz said with a chuckle. “By the beginning of the second day if they haven’t brought me a few non-perishable food items then I go around ask if they want to make a small cash donation.”

Schwarz has co-ordinated the fair for 18 years and gathered food bank donations every year, with the last 15 years for Pregnancy Outreach.

Read more: Pregnancy Outreach supports and connects mothers

Several years ago she chose Pregnancy Outreach because she learned, from a friend who worked there, that the program often feeds moms and children and gives them food to take home if they are in need.

“When I drove up there the first time, a bunch of people came out and they couldn’t thank us enough,” Schwarz said. “And they always send a thank you letter for myself and the vendors. I choose to do this instead of having a draw.”

At this year’s craft fair she was able to put together six good-sized boxes, she added.

Barb Jones, the manager of Pregnancy Outreach, said they really appreciate and are thankful of the support from the craft fair vendors and the Elks Hall.

“They have committed to supporting us for years,” Jones said. “We have a food bank and a diaper bank for our families that is based strictly on donations so it really helps.”

When asked if the diaper bank is stocked, Jones said not often in the larger sizes because most people are thinking about newborns when they donate.

Schwarz said she ended up starting her own craft fair because she loves to bake.

Her first foray into entering a fair at the Elks Hall resulted in all her baking disappearing within about 45 minutes.

“I went home and baked the rest of the day so I’d have something to sell the next day,” she recalled.

When she runs her craft fair, however, she doesn’t bake because she is too busy running the fair.

Instead, she sells her baking at the Made in the Cariboo Artisan and Craft Fair at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

Read more: Made in the Cariboo Craft and Artisan Fair off to a busy start

Her mom Roland Perron, who is legally blind, helps her bake for five full days that stretch from 9 a.m. until 10 or 11 at night.

They do the pies ahead of time, she added.

“This year my granddaughter, Rylee Dieck, had her own table at the TDC and was selling stuff. We are grooming her as well,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz grew up in Lac La Hache, having moved there when she was seven years old because her parents purchased Fir Crest Resort.

She has worked at Canada Safeway for 38 years, starting out in 100 Mile House, spending six years in Kelowna and then returning to Williams Lake six years ago.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

As the province moves to lift some COVID-19 restrictions, the city of Williams Lake will be opening up its city council meetings to the public, beginning June 22. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Public attendance on the agenda once again for Williams Lake city council meetings

Residents will be permitted to attend meetings in person beginning June 22

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake high school teacher valedictorian for TRU virtual graduation ceremonies

Jonathan Harding is graduating with a master of education degree

Williams Lake's Larry Fitzpatrick, pictured here on his horse, Murphy, north of Puntzi Lake in the Chilcotin, has been awarded second place in the Guide Outfitters of B.C.'s annual awards gala for the top hunting guide in the province. (Photo submitted)
OUR HOMETOWN: At peace in the outdoors

Larry Fitzpatrick was named runner-up as the province’s top hunting guide of the year

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

Most Read