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Alternative gift market gives back on local scale

Staff writer

Marion’s eighth annual alternative gift market Nov. 2 is part of an international charity, but a portion of the money raised finds its way back home, executive director Surinder Moore said.

“It’s a way for them to give back and support a local nonprofit,” she said. “For three or four years, we’ve supported the Marion County Food Bank.”

One of the new features this year was the decision to have participants select projects Sept. 15, a Sunday, as opposed to the traditional Saturday event.

By moving project selection to a Sunday, the goal was to schedule it between the day’s early and late church services, Marion coordinator Cheri Wheeler said.

“People who are repeaters and do it every year are so excited to do this every year,” she said.

In 2018, the effort donated $1,500 of $7,500 to Marion Food Bank.

Giving part back to Marion County is important because much of the area’s poor might go unnoticed, Moore said.

“Driving through Marion, it’s a very picturesque, beautiful town,” she said. “The problems are buried very deep where everything seemingly is perfect.”

The gift market appeals to parents of all nations, Moore said.

“It’s no different for a woman in Honduras or Guatemala,” she said. “That mother wants the same for her child as I do.”

Rotating the list of causes is important because as people are used to seeing a cause year after year they donate less, Moore said.

“Once we’ve seen something, we’re ready to move on,” she said. “There’s something very sad about that, especially when we’re talking about our causes because these are real issues.”

Having Moore as close as Wichita allows Wheeler to meet with her and discuss what works well for other gift markets.

“It’s so nice,” she said. “I was able to go down and spend two or three hours with her, and just visit.”

To keep people energized, Wheeler said it’s important to have the catering assistance from CB Bakery, and encourage craft making participation from nonprofits.

“This is its eighth year, so we want to make sure we can keep re-energizing it,” she said. “There are still a lot of people who don’t know about the market.”

Last modified Oct. 17, 2019

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