Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 4 News List

COMMUNITY COMPASS: Spring Bazaar raises funds for community center

EXPATS UNITE About half of 34 booths were manned by foreigners, offering a wide variety of jewelry and crafts

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

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More than 200 people visited the Community Services Center’s annual Spring Bazaar at the Howard Plaza last Tuesday.

The hotel’s lobby was transformed into a bustling marketplace for the fundraiser, with booths selling homemade trinkets and treasures from afar.

Paula Chen, who came up with the idea for the event, said the bazaar was an opportunity for expatriates to have fun and help raise money for the center.

About half of the 34 booths were manned by expatriates, eager to showcase their products, ranging from jewelry and other handicrafts to clothes and gemstones.

Michele Tang, a Singaporean who grew up in the US and has lived in Taiwan for seven years, set up a booth featuring handmade essentials for children and mothers, including nursing aprons, kids’ clothing and other products.

“I get most of my inspiration from my seven-year-old son,” Tang said.

LOCAL MATERIALS

Tine Jensen, from Denmark, who creates a variety of sewn handicrafts, set up a table with small tote bags, pouches and wallets, all hand-stitched and made with fabrics she finds in Taiwan.

At the other corner of the bazaar was Marie-Louise Ekberg from Sweden, who also uses local materials for her jewelry.

Ekberg started her own business, Formosa Smycken, using the Swedish word for jewelry.

She included the word Formosa in the company name because “this is where I buy all my beads and there is where I started my business,” she said.

Other booths included overseas products from businesses owned by expatriates or items expatriates had picked up during their travels.

The Spring Bazaar is one of the few fundraising events organized by the center, Chen said. It doesn’t pull in much money for the center’s operations, however, because most of the profits from ticket sales go to the hotel and food for the event, she said.

ANNUAL AUCTION

The center’s biggest fundraiser is its annual charity dinner and auction every September, she said. Last year, the auction brought in more than NT$2.3 million (US$67,000).

The center is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide counseling and other forms of support for the foreign community.

A list of upcoming activities and events, along with information about counseling services can be found at the center’s Web site, www.community.com.tw.

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