“Overall this is a wonderful thing for the parish,” said Father Gerardo Mendoza, Pastor of St. Mel Parish. “It gives the people some time to hang out and get to know each other after Mass. I hope this will grow once religious education begins again in September.”
Last month the vendor fair brought in about $800. So far about 40 vendors set up their booths near the church. Vendors vary from parish ministries wishing to publicize events and activities, to food vendors, hobbyists and local businesses.
Daniels, coordinator of the vendor fair, is trying to bring in more farmers’ market type vendors, which would entice parishioners to visit the fair.
While organized as a parish fundraiser, Daniels believes the greatest benefit of having the monthly event is the opportunities for fellowship.
“This has been my parish for 11 years and now I’m getting to know people I never had met before,” said Daniels, who was inspired by similar events she had worked on while serving on her children’s Parent Teacher Association. “The biggest thing for me is being able to reach out to our community. We are making connections, between ministries, forming friendships and getting to know each other.”
The parish has been holding its monthly vendor fair for the past four months and is currently evaluating whether to continue hosting the fair. Many have grown to enjoy the monthly event and hope it can be expanded in some way.