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Shop local to benefit those in need on Dec. 1

WINDHAM - A new event in Windham this weekend promises to fulfill your holiday shopping needs, all for a great cause.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Town of Windham's Community Development department will partner with Windham High School to host the town's first-ever Holiday Shopping Extravaganza.

The event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the high school, will feature goods from more than 60 area businesses. Proceeds from the event, including the $1 per person entrance fee, will assist a variety of local charities.

Guests will also have the opportunity to donate non-perishable food items for area pantries.

Community Development Director Laura Scott said the idea for the new event initially arose during a conversation with resident Heather Dodge. Dodge, who recently moved to Windham, suggested having some sort of benefit event to assist those in need during the holiday season. Scott was intrigued, and together the two women devised an event to meet several goals: spreading the word on area businesses and services, helping those in need, and offering residents from surrounding towns the chance to complete their holiday shopping over the course of one afternoon.

Among the local organizations benefitting from the event are Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County, which provides shelter to area families in need; Shepherd's Food Pantry; Windham Helping Hands, which offers services and resources to struggling local residents; the Windham Baseball and Softball League; and various sports teams and clubs at Windham High School.

Scott said the proceeds from the vendors' table rentals would specifically be used to assist Family Promise in its programs, while proceeds of raffle tickets sales would go to Helping Hands.

Many participating businesses have donated various items for the raffle, Scott said, and some of the vendors will also sell certain items to benefit charitable causes. Patrons of this weekend's event will have the chance to purchase a variety of locally sourced goods, including clothing, jewelry, home dcor, specialty foods, toys, cosmetics, wellness items, holiday decorations and more.

"A lot of these places are home-based businesses that don't often get the chance to reach out to people during the holiday season," said Scott.

"It's also a great time for people from Windham and surrounding towns to shop locally." The day will also feature refreshments, children's face painting, photos with Santa, holiday music, on-site childcare and various raffles.

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