Alternative Christmas Market scheduled

Alternative Gifts International (AGI) is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes.

Alternative Gifts International began in 1980 at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, in California. Harriet Prichard wanted to model a new, noncommercial way to give Christmas gifts for the church’s children. She organized a market in which children and many adults sold relief, self-development goods, and animals for people in need as alternative gifts The project was so motivating that other churches soon began to conduct alternative markets. By 2004 there were 325 markets held in 43 U.S. states, in England, Holland, Japan, and Korea. In the course of 25 seasons, over $26 million has been raised.

Each year AGI develops a catalog listing needs of hungry, sick, or homeless people and our endangered planet. Ninety percent of the monies received by AGI for the alternative gifts will be granted to cooperating agencies who guarantee that the funds will be used only as designated. AGI retains ten percent for its administrative costs.

On December 7, 2014, the United Methodist Church of Chugiak will host its annual Alternative Christmas Market.   Shoppers will have the opportunity to designate charitable gifts in the name of their relatives, friends, and associates. Give the gift of food, medicine, livestock, or education to those in need around the world. A special gift card and informational insert describing the gift will be provided for the person you wish to honor.

Gifts range in price from $2 for vaccines, to $1,100 for cleft palate surgery. There is a price and gift for everyone on your Christmas list. For a teacher, why not provide one month’s salary for another teacher or books for students? A pediatrician might appreciate vaccines for Syrian refuge children. A fashion minded friend might enjoy giving a sewing machine to a woman in India.

These gifts of hope can change the world. They empower the poorest of the poor to sustain life and build a future for subsequent generations.

Contact Sandra Woods or Stacy Flagg to sponsor a table that will highlight one of the 30 projects in this year’s catalog. What a great way to show God’s love.