By Teri L. Hansen
The annual Alternative Christmas Gift Market will be held 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 9 at the Cedars Conference Center 1021 Cedars Drive in McPherson. This is the market’s 15th year running and is sponsored by the McPherson Church of the Brethren. The alternative portion is that those in attendance won’t be doing so for material gain. The booths at the event are from local non-profit organizations. Representatives from each organization will educate attendees about their non-profit and encourage donations as an alternative Christmas gift.
“Each charitable organization will have volunteers to explain the work they do in our community or around the world. Attendees may choose which if any of the organizations they want to support,” Susan Taylor explained. Taylor has helped out with the market for a number of years. “After viewing the booths, one payment can be made, and it will be distributed as the donor requests. Some items will be available to purchase. Attendees are invited to visit with fellow citizens and enjoy refreshments. We encourage people to come even if they cannot make a donation.”
There will plenty to choose from with 18 organizations participating this year. Items from the Connected Fair Trade Store in Lindsborg will also be available for purchase.
“The number has been consistent,” Taylor said. “The McPherson Housing Coalition is new this year.”
Those in attendance this year include:
Church World Service
Connected Fair Trade Store
Growing Hope Globally
Haiti Medical Project
The Malala Fund
McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity
McPherson County Food Bank
McPherson Housing Coalition
Mobility Worldwide Kansas
Mt. Hope Sanctuary, Inc.
New Community Project
Offender Victim Ministries
Steps to End Poverty of McPherson County
Ulster Project of McPherson County
The Wink Foundation
“100 percent of the money donated goes to the charitable organization,” Taylor said. “We cover the overhead. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted.”
For 15 years, this has been an event to gear people up for the holiday season, by supporting local organizations and their good works.
“It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit. I’m always uplifted to see the attractive displays and learn about the good work being done—whether it’s the middle schooler raising money for the Malala Fund or the retiree building Habitat houses in our community,” Taylor said. “All of the projects are so worthwhile. It renews my faith in people when sometimes the world seems so bleak and materialistic.”