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Danielle Dotzenrod, far left, and her niece, Jaymes, work with kids at the Elgin Public Library.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Elgin business owner Danielle Dotzenrod has created a venue to showcase two qualities that she thinks come naturally to children: creativity and compassion. 

Dotzenrod has organized a first-ever charity flea market called Kiddos Who Care. The event will provide free booth space to vendors 6 to 18 years of age. Participants can sell crafts, gently used items, artwork, baked goods and just about anything else. But there’s a catch—albeit a very good and altruistic one: Half of each vendor’s proceeds must be donated to charity.

“I don’t care where the donations go as long as it’s something that helps another person,” said Dotzenrod. “If you want to do something like help with your brother’s football shoes, that’s OK. The point is to think about the needs of others and help to meet them.”

The Kiddos Who Care flea market is Saturday, August 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Elgin City Park. At press time, Dotzenrod had commitments from 30 youngsters but the number could swell since she’s willing to take new vendors up to the time the event opens. The day will also include refreshments, face painting, hay wagon rides and a photo booth with a jungle theme.

“This isn’t something just for kids in this area or county,” Dotzenrod continued. “We’ve got kids coming from Des Moines and the Twin Cities area. There’s a student artist from MFL-MarMac who plans to donate to a friend whose house was damaged in the McGregor tornado. There’s another vendor whose mom suffers from MS so that’s where she’s giving her funds. And, of course, we hope people from all over the area attend.”

Each vendor will have a sign at their booth with their name, age, where their donation will go and why they decided to donate to that specific cause.

“At the end of the day, the donations will come to us and we will send them to the charity on behalf of each child,” Dotzenrod said. “We’re asking each participant to provide a note about why they chose that opportunity for their donation. Just image what it would feel like to get not just a check but a note from a kid who really, really cares about your cause.”

Kiddos Who Care is being co-sponsored by Tico Market and a non-profit called Grinfiniti.

Dotzenrod, who describes herself as “a South Winn native,” returned to Northeast Iowa five years ago after 13 years in Los Angeles, where she worked in the entertainment industry. She currently owns and operates an Elgin restaurant called Dotzy’s, which is a family nickname. Dotzenrod, who left Iowa at age 16 after winning a modeling contest, is happy to be back in the Midwest.

“I miss the California weather but not the traffic,” she said. “I feel very supported here and have never regretted my decision.”

Endlessly enthusiastic and full of energy, Dotzenrod is in the process of creating a non-profit that she says will offer everything from future flea markets to a “kids off the grid” program. She’s also like to find a way to work with college students who are pursuing careers in K-12 education. Another plan is to open the doors of her eatery once a month to young chefs.

Anyone still interested in participating can sign up for vendor space at Dotzy’s or Tico Market or email the organizers at You can also visit the group on Facebook.

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