Alternative gift fairs make the world a better place

Looking for something different to put under the tree this year? This weekend brings two gift fairs to the Mid-Columbia that will help you do just that — and help make the world a better place.

On Saturday at Hood River’s Riverside Community Church, 4th and State Street, the Alternative Gift Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace and the Columbia Gorge Unitarian Universalists, the fair offers shoppers a chance to buy “gifts” that make a difference both locally and internationally.

Booths will be set up representing a variety of local and international non-profit organizations. Local groups on hand include PROD (Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs), the Hood River County Library Foundation and The Next Door, Inc. International organizations represented include the International Justice Mission, Catholic Relief Services and the Quaker Bolivia Link.

Shoppers can buy gift amounts which will aid the organization of their choice — or the organization favored by the gift’s recipient. Shoppers also are given a gift card to give the recipient telling what the gift amount will buy and how it will help the organization.

“The neat thing is you can really tailor it to whoever you’re giving the gift to,” said Theresa North, who spearheaded the fair. There will be a special “child’s shopping list” with gift amounts from $11 and under so that kids can participate, too.

On Sunday, the Bethel United Church of Christ’s 5th Annual Fair Trade Gift Sale will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the church, located at 480 E. Jewett in White Salmon. The sale features items ranging from jewelry to stocking stuffers to holiday decorations that come from producers who receive a living wage for their work.

In addition, shoppers have the opportunity to give to the Heifer Project or Habitat for Humanity in the name of a family member or friend. All Habitat for Humanity gifts will stay local for the recently-formed Gorge chapter of the organization.

Shoppers can enjoy free cookies and organic coffee from the Cafe Mam Cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico.

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