[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]DARBOY — As hard as it may be to believe, at one point in her life Tina Keller knew nothing about crafts. “I knew how to knit, my mom taught me how to do that and sew,” she said. Now she spends a good 10 months out of every year making crafts for Spirit of Christmas, Holy Spirit Parish’s annual craft fair, luncheon and homemade candy sale.
Keller, who was born and raised in Kimberly, has been a Holy Spirit parishioner her entire life. Originally the church she belonged to in Kimberly was called Holy Name but on Jan. 1, 2005, that church merged with Holy Angels in Darboy to become Holy Spirit. Keller and her husband, Ed, have three children who all graduated from Holy Name School.
Keller began volunteering at the school when her oldest son was in second grade. “We worked at the picnic, the Lenten fish fries, I helped originate the SCRIP program at Holy Name and I’m still one of the people coordinating it,” she said. At one point she was employed at the school part time as the secretary for the religious education department.
In the early 1980s, the principal of Holy Name was looking for ways to raise funds to help teachers get supplies for their classrooms. The idea was suggested that the home and school group host an annual craft sale called Country Christmas. Holy Angels in Darboy had their own craft sale called Angel Arts. When the campuses merged the name of the sale was changed to Spirit of Christmas.
The sale has evolved through the years and is now one of the top two fund raisers for their school. It’s held each year on the Sunday of the first full weekend of November at Holy Spirit School in Darboy and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The event includes crafts made by parishioners, a soup-and-sandwich luncheon, themed baskets which are raffled off, homemade candy, homemade cookies sold by the pound, and floral arrangements.
Because Keller’s children were in school at the time this fund raiser began, she thought it would be a good way to get involved. “I started learning and learning more about making crafts. … I needed a place to cut wood so I’d go over (to her father’s house) and he said, ‘Why don’t I show you?’ So he taught me how to do it and my husband started buying me tools like band saws for our anniversary. Now we have men that can do the cutting wood so I do the sewing and finishing again.”
The crafting begins in January of each year. Keller hosts crafters at her home on Wednesday evenings and all day Thursday. “We’re the Country Christmas group. We’re the ones who don’t have kids in school anymore, but we got so many friendships from those days that we still do it because we like meeting,” she said. “We used to say we were a craft group that goes out for lunch now we’re a lunch group that does crafts.” There are about 15 women in their group.
Items sold in the craft area are top notch and look professionally made. Most of the patterns are fresh every year. They get ideas from the internet with Pinterest being one of their go-to sites to check out new ideas.
Spirit of Christmas is a huge undertaking with many volunteers who make it the success it’s been for more than 30 years. Amanda Newmeier-Kist and Karen VanDenBloomer serve as co-chairs.
In addition to Christmas crafts, they also sell Thanksgiving items such as fall color runners, candle mats, wreaths and turkey runners. There are no presales but people can put items on “layaway” during the sale if they want to free up their hands while they shop. Those items are paid for before the shoppers leave the building.
Keller said she continues her involvement with the Spirit of Christmas because it’s a worthy cause. “It’s not directly benefiting us, it’s benefiting the kids and the school and to me that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “You don’t do things so you get kudos. Everyone is so appreciative — it just makes you feel so good.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Tina Keller
Parish: Holy Spirit, Kimberly/Darboy
Favorite saint: Maria Goretti
Words to live by: “Be kind and gentle and loving to the people I meet and try to treat them the way I want to be treated.”