Greeting visitors at the Zion Lutheran Church-Franklin Lake baked goods counter are Sue Peplnjak and Rosie Clemenson. The event was hosted Nov. 14.
Pictured area various images of the colorful merchandise at the Christmas Closet event at Zion Lutheran Church on Franklin Lake, Nov. 14.

Despite COVID precautions, generosity of lakes area folks results in successful event

The holiday spirit and generosity of the lakes area was evident once again as the season begins in the greater Pelican Rapids lakes area. 

Zion Lutheran Church on Franklin Lake hosted its popular annual Christmas Closet event Nov. 14. 

It was the eighth year. Since 2013, the event has generated proceeds to donate more than $20,000 to various charities, locally and regionally. 

Last year was a record at about $4,000 in sales for the half-day Christmas event. 

This year, even with COVID precautions and reduced traffic due to health and safety issues, the event generated $2,000.

Zion volunteers were pleased with the success, under the circumstances. They were unable to set up the coffee and baked good service, because of COVID. The coffee and fellowship, which is served up all morning, helps generate revenue. 

Also, attendance at the shopping event was monitored and controlled. Visitors signed in at the entrance area.

A total of 35 signed in, which is a fraction of the number of people typically visiting Zion for the event. The Christmas Closet has become something of an unofficial lakes area kick-off to the holiday season, as essentially the first event of the season, the second Saturday of November. 

Despite the lighter traffic, the $2,000 sales were a welcome surprise. The proceeds are generated by the silent auction, merchandise sales, bake sale goods and donations. 

The Pelican Rapids Welcome Place; the Pelican Community Food Shelf and the Lakes Area Crisis center are among the recipients of Zion donations. 

Most of the unsold inventory of gently used Christmas merchandise will be donated to the Holy Rosary church in Detroit Lakes. Holy Rosary has a special ministry in helping families re-establish households after a crisis or tragedy.