For the past several years, Keene Housing Kids Collaborative has hosted holiday bazaars each December for kids living in Keene Housing households. The bazaars give kids a chance to “shop” for holiday gifts for their parents and siblings at no cost. Each child selects one present for each family member, which is gift-wrapped by volunteers.

Although the Kids Holiday Bazaars have become a favorite event of staff, community volunteers and children alike, the decision was made not to host the bazaars this year due to COVID-19.

“We just couldn’t figure out a way to do it safely,” said Liz Chipman, KHKC Executive Director. “The health and safety of everyone in our community — kids, adults, volunteers and families — outweighed the very real joy that this event brings.”

Determined to keep the holiday spirit alive, board members and community volunteers came up with an alternative project to spread holiday cheer to kids in Keene Housing. Goodie bags, filled with a holiday message, family activity ideas, hot cocoa mix and clementines will be distributed to Keene Housing families. More than 300 of these holiday goodie bags will be hung on doorknobs to maintain social distancing and will be distributed by project committee members and some of the same community volunteers who have participated in the holiday bazaars in the past.

“Our Board of Directors wanted to make sure that our residents and kids know that although we can’t have the bazaars this year, we are thinking of them and wish them the happiest of holidays,” said Chipman. “They are a wonderfully caring group of people.”