Material Girls Create Christmas All Year





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From left to right: Lynn Harris, Sue Yager, Sue McCalla. Photo courtesy Kristy Fetyko

By Candace Platt

The Christmas season a favorite time of the year for many and the Material Girls in Chelsea is a group of women who are making the season even more special.

Each year the group creates inexpensive handmade gifts for children, preschool through fifth grade, to buy for their loved ones at Christmas. All proceeds are given to charity – minus about 10% needed to cover costs and seed money.



Material Girls now has approximately 100 volunteers, but the idea was originated in 2010 by three friends – Alison Vanderspool, Jane Pacheco, and Kelly Stoker. As members of Chelsea’s First United Methodist Church, they were able to secure space at the church to hold their first Children’s Christmas Bazaar.

Vanderspool’s mother, Barbara Brown, came on board, and by 2012, the group was dubbed the “Material Girls.” Although they hold craft-making sessions at the church, church membership is not required. Any woman who wants to contribute a bit of time and effort can join the group to learn new crafting skills or share specific talents such as sewing or painting. It’s a wonderful opportunity to develop friendships while making unique gifts that will brighten Christmas for so many.

Ladies age 16 and older are invited to stop by the church (128 Park Street in downtown Chelsea, across from the Purple Rose Theatre) between noon and 2:30pm on the second Tuesday of every month from February through October to help create some of the 4,000 different craft items made each year. Expect to see about 50 people sitting at eight or so tables, working on their creations. The group also undertakes other unique projects during the year.

The Children’s Christmas Bazaar takes place Saturday of Chelsea’s Hometown Holiday celebration which kicks off the holiday season each December. In addition, a special Thursday night display is held for special needs children to allow them to shop in a less crowded and quieter setting. Volunteers help the children with shopping, and everyone has a good time.

Every item created is sold for $5 or less, and there is something for everyone on a child’s shopping list. In addition, for families on the Faith In Action roster, each child is given a $20 “scholarship” to assist with purchases. After all shopping is completed, special small items are donated to the Chelsea Senior Center for use as gifts or decorations to accompany their Meals-on-Wheels deliveries.

After the 2017 Children’s Christmas Bazaar, the Material Girls donated $10,000 to Faith In Action, according to treasurer Kristy Fetyko.

For more information or to donate to Material Girls, contact Kelly Stoker (chair of this year’s 14-member leadership team) at 734-433-9310, or scrapstoker@comcast.net.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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