Kids fill all their shopping needs at this holiday bazaar

Five-year-old Isabel Mendoza clutches a present as she watches Grant Hendley, left, and Dustin Damm wrap another present she bought for family members.<br><i>Staff photo by Samantha Bates</i>

Kids only. No parents allowed.

Usually a slogan on club houses or forts, this time it referred to a special bazaar in the Milton-Freewater Community Building. Thursday and Friday this week, the Rotary room hosted a special spot where kids could get presents for their parents and family members, and do it on their own. It's the 13th year the bazaar has happened, said organizer Mona Wailser, who also hosted a table of crafty items.

All the items in the room cost less than $15. Parents sent kids in with cash and then had to wait outside, in the main room of the community center, while children selected, bought and wrapped their presents.

"It's so much fun watching the kids," said Linda Becker, another organizer. "They enjoy themselves. We're already planning for next year - we're looking forward to it."

Friday afternoon Gloria Hetterley brought her granddaughter, five-year-old Isabel Mendoza. She gave Isabel $10 and took a seat outside to talk to the other ladies. Wailser helped Isabel put her cash in a little coin purse, one she gave each kid, and teamed her up with Grant Hendley, a teen volunteer who helped her find presents. Isabel was looking for presents for her parents, she said.

Grant said he just tries to help kids get what they want.

"I just ask them what they want to shop for and know where to direct them. If their dad's into hunting I take them to the back table," Grant said.?"If their mom likes to cook, there's a table for that."

Soon enough, Grant led her to the wrapping station at the other end of the room with presents ready. There mom, Cheryl Hendly; sister, Nicole Hendley; and friend, Dustin Damm, were busy wrapping away.

Cheryl wrapped one of Isabel's presents in white tissue paper and handed it back. In the two days of the bazaar she Cheryl said she wrapped all kinds of items like candy canes, coffee cups, jewelry, ornaments and stuffed animals. The key, she said, is having plenty of boxes. Even though she said she collects them all year, the wrapper ran out after the first day and had to restock.

In the end, Isabel said she found what she wanted for her parents' presents.

Isabel's grandmother, waiting outside, said she thought they'd missed the bazaar and was glad to make it on Friday.

"Every year she really looks forward to it," she said.

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