Market offers alternative to ‘stuff’
An upcoming sale offers the perfect gift for that person on your shopping list who needs nothing but appreciates doing good.
This year’s Alternative Gift Market will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Marion Community Center, 3rd St. and Santa Fe.
It will offer both a chance to learn about projects that relieve suffering and poverty in the United States and worldwide, and make a donation to support those projects.
Projects are sponsored by community organizations, individuals and school classes in Marion County.
This is the sixth Alternative Gift Market in Marion, coordinator Margaret Picking said. The market got its start with co-coordinator Jackie Volbrecht, who attended a Wichita church that held an Alternative Gift Market while she lived there, and launched one in Marion after moving to the county lake.
Planning for the annual event begins a year ahead with reservation for a place to hold Alternative Gift Market.
Projects are chosen on the last Saturday in August, giving sponsors several months to decide what they’re going to create for an ornament or take-away. A ‘pick your project day’ in August lets people view posters, pick up catalogs, and learn about the projects.
“I think people oftentimes have the wrong idea,” Picking said. “They think a gift market is about material things. This is about supporting missions that help people worldwide and in the U.S. One woman comes every year and says she gives these to her children, and they ask which mission she’s supporting this year.”
Alternative Gifts International, headquartered in Wichita, selects the projects the organization supports. Donations for projects funnel through AGI.
Visitors can circulate among the booths and talk with people who support each project.
“You can probably visit with all of them in an hour,” Picking said.
The individuals who pick the projects make ornaments or take-aways such as bookmarks to represent the projects. Donors provide financial support to the project in the names of people they choose.
The event also will raise funds for three local charities: Marion County Resource Center and Food Bank, Families and Communities Together, and Circles of Marion County.
Hillsboro resident Jamie Driggers, who markets Trades of Hope merchandise, will also be at Alternative Gift Market. Diggers’ items include jewelry, scarves, purses, and such made by women from Haiti, India, and other countries.
Last year’s event in Marion attracted about 135 shoppers and raised around $10,000, Picking said.
This year Rachel Collett of CB Baked Goods in Marion will sell food to support the food bank.