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1C Church officials are working toward turning the dreams of 20 young people into a reality.

The triannual 2019 Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Youth Gathering in Minneapolis gathers thousands of youth and adults nationwide to learn about their faith. The convention is too great for 20 1C Church youth ages ninth through 12th grade to pass on, but they must first come up with the finances to cover the trip.

When hope was starting to deplete, church parishioners decided to step in to help. Head of events Keri Robbins, who is also the secretary of the church’s leadership team, oversees the fundraising efforts for the youth.

“It will be awesome for these kids to be in a setting with thousands of other kids and believers their age,” Robbins said.

Because of the success of the spring 1C Vendor Fair, organizers decided to host another fair – but on a bigger scale – from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the church, 2200 28th Ave., in a continuous effort to raise funds for the trip.

Admission is free.

Organizers successfully raised approximately $1,500 in the spring and aim to collect at least $2,500 on Saturday. Proceeds are gathered from booth rentals, raffle tickets and a bake sale.

The youth will be working throughout the event, helping vendors set up their booths and cleaning up the hall. Organizers are compensating their efforts with funds for the trip.

Because many of the participating vendors donated items to be raffled out, Robbins said it helped the church save on overall event expenses.

There are approximately 50 vendors participating in the event from Columbus and neighboring communities like David City, Seward and Platte Center. It's a noticeable step up from the past event that gathered roughly 30 merchants.

During the event, patrons are given the opportunity to shop for items like handmade jewelry, clothing, wooden signs, clay necklaces and sweet treats for a good cause. Robbins said attendees can have an early start on their Christmas shopping, noting many of the items are handmade.

Participating businesses include Kim & Leann’s BOWtique, Rustic Roseanna Boutique, Daniels Produce, Sweet & Salty Custom Creations, Loseke Handcrafted, 31 Bags and Scentsy.

Jonathon Reyes, assistant retail manager at Daniels Produce, said this will be the first time the business's new line of canned goods is sold at a local vendor event.

“It’s a good way to promote our new line … and it’s nice that the event is local,” Reyes said.

Attendees can sample canned products like sauerkraut, salsas, as well as pickled jalapeños and asparagus.

During the trip, the youth will be accompanied by four adult parishioners, whose expenses are already covered.

“The trip is a very rewarding experience for them and it’s beneficial to their parents, too,” said Robbins, noting the efforts can help alleviate some of their financial stress. “My goal is that (the youth) gain a closer relationship to Jesus Christ and each other.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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