Alternative Gift Market

What is an Alternative Gift Market? 


Our AGM is an annual project of the Missions and Outreach Ministry of First Presbyterian Church and is held around Thanksgiving time. In the past years, the AGM has included fair trade items for sale that support artisans and farmers from all over the globe, as well as providing information about and the opportunity to donate to ministries providing disaster relief, clean water and solar power, micro loans, education, sustainable farming opportunities and medical care. Buying fair trade gifts or making donations in honor of family and friends provides an “alternative” to the traditional gifts and allows you to make a difference with meaningful gifts that keep on giving.


Prior to the pandemic, the AGM was an in person market open to our church and community. Last year and this year, we are conducting the market as an on-line donation program only. This year’s market will not include an opportunity to purchase fair trade crafts and products, but these items may be ordered on-line directly from the fair trade ministry. These are unprecedented times and in the undeveloped countries where these ministries serve, your monetary support will continue to build hope.


The AGM on-line giving dates will be from November 1 through December 11 and Shelby, the church on-line giving platform, will allow you to make your donations through the church. If you have never used this platform, you must create an account, which is very simple. As you read about each ministry listed below, there is a place to click and enter your donation amount. When you are finished with your “shopping”, there will be a total amount entered that can be paid with a charge card. If you have any trouble please call the church office 830-257-3310. In addition, if you prefer, the church office also will have a hard copy of the ministry summaries and a place for you to enter an amount by the ministries you wish to contribute to. Return your form and check to the church office before December 11, 2021. Gift cards also will be available at the church office. All donations will be shown on your year-end giving statement and noted as donations through the Alternative Gift Market. Each ministry will receive a check in the amount of donations collected through this year’s AGM.



We hope this change will enable us to publicize the AGM more effectively and demonstrate the impact of the AGM in supporting our ministry partners.  


Click here to read more about each ministry. 

Baskets of Africa

Baskets of Africa supports basket weavers in Africa by providing them a market for their products. The baskets are one-of-a-kind functional artwork woven by local African craftspeople from across the continent. These artisans weave their baskets in the traditional manner thereby preserving their cultural heritage while advancing themselves financially.

Baskets of Africa is part of the Fair Trade Federation.  You can go directly to its website and shop the extensive variety of baskets made from grasses, tree leaves and bark, woven in intricate and colorful patterns.  Read about the many types of weaving techniques, the wide variety of materials used and how these materials are processed and dyed, and then woven into designs that are traditional and as varied as the country and its culture.

By promoting the work of African artisans, Baskets of Africa contributes to their economic development and stability. It is being offered in this year’s AGM as a convenience for you to shop their online website. All orders are handled like any other on-line shopping experience and do not go through the church.   


The direct link to Baskets of Africa is www.basketsofafrica.com


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Church World Services

CWS is an ecumenical ministry that started 75 years ago with 17 denominations participating together.  CWS’s mission goal is to transform communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.  Most of us are familiar with initiatives such as the CROP Hunger Walks and One Great Hour of Sharing that help raise food and funds for CWS programs.  The COVID 19 pandemic has affected more than 100 million people and millions have died.  Many have lost their jobs and means of earning a living.  More and more people are now facing hunger and extreme poverty.  Fear and anxiety are the new normal.  CWS programs have adapted in response to the pandemic.  To read more about CWS programs around the globe, here is a direct link to its website www.cwsglobal.org


Your contribution to Church World Services through our church online giving platform will support areas of greatest need.


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FINCA  International

Finca’s mission is to alleviate poverty through lasting solutions that help people build assets, create jobs and raise their standard of living.  Its programs benefit millions of people across five continents by offering responsible financial services such as small loans or savings accounts to low income people.  It also provides life enhancing products such as solar home systems and clean cook stoves. Finca is using innovative technology and new approaches to reach more financially excluded people, especially women. To read more about this interesting ministry, here is a direct link to its website www.finca.org


Your contribution to FINCA through our church online giving platform will support areas of greatest need.

    

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Faith in practice

Faith in Practice is a non-profit, ecumenical medical ministry that is guided by Christian principles in its service to the poor in Guatemala.  Its volunteers share their faith through their gifts, talents and deeds, which are performed in a manner reflecting respect for all people as those created in the image of God.  They appreciate the cultural differences and nurture and encourage community volunteer support.   Over 1500 U.S. volunteers each year donate their time and cover their travel expenses to bring hope and healing to more than 30,000 Guatemalans.

The United States volunteer medical teams provide many services that cover, pediatrics, internal medicine, gynecology and cervical cancer screening, dental care, and ENT/audiology.  Their Mobility Clinics offer medical checks, physical therapy consults, distribute wheelchairs, canes and walkers.  The volunteer onsite labs offer EKGs, ultrasounds and blood and urine analysis.  There is also an onsite pharmacy.  Faith in Practice also send surgical medical teams that treat patients referred by the medical teams.  To read more about this inspiring ministry that began and offices in Houston, here is a direct link to its website www.faithinpractice.org.


Your contribution to Faith in Practice through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest needs.


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haiti education foundation

In 1981, a 60 year old woman from Arkansas accompanied her husband on their fourth medical mission trip to Haiti.  While there, she met a priest and they shared a vision to change generations of young Haitians lives through education and hope.  With the help of her church, family and friends, over 50 schools have been built to help end illiteracy for tens of thousands of children.

HEF’s primary goal is to fund student scholarships, but it also have been working to rebuild or repair many of the schools impacted by the earthquake there this summer.  HEF partners with many agencies including Living Waters for the World, Solar Under the Sun, and Trinity Hope, an agency that supplies food for the schools and has continued during COVID to see that the children and families have nourishing meals.  100% of your donations go directly to Haiti with nothing deducted for administration fees.  To read more about HEF, their partners, programs and Haiti, here is a direct link to its website www.haitifoundation.org


Your contribution to the Haiti Educational Foundation through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest needs. 


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heifer international

Did you know that over 821 million people go to bed hungry every night?  Heifer has been helping to address this problem with programs that begin with agriculture and build sustainable businesses.  These programs not only cultivate a secure source of income for individual families, but also help build a future with farmers and private sector partners who share Heifer’s values.  Heifer International has been an ongoing ministry fighting hunger and poverty for over 75 years.   It works with communities in 21 countries around the world to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that guarantee a living income to local farmers.  Heifer’s philosophy of a hand up rather than a hand out is changing hunger and poverty into hope.  To read more about Heifer’s programs, here is a direct link to its website www.heifer.org


Your contributions to Heifer International, through our church online giving platform will support areas of greatest need.  


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living waters for the world

Living Waters for the World is a ministry of the Synod of Living Waters, PC(USA).  Its mission is to train volunteers to establish and lead water mission teams that partner with communities to implement and operate sustainable water purification systems and provide health education programs.  LWW supports every phase of a water project as its volunteers work with and empower communities to treat available but contaminated water. 

Since 1993, LWW has helped provide clean water to over 1,000 communities across 26 countries.  Today the ministry focuses within 11 network regions.  Network services are designed to facilitate the development of relationships between mission teams and international partners, develop the capacity of citizens to address water issues in their country, and further LWW’s ministry by enabling more efficient and effective operations in diverse social, political and ethnic settings. To read more about LWW here is a direct link to its website www.livingwatersfortheworld.org

 

Your contribution to Living Waters for the World through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest need.



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Our journey sunshine academy

Our Journey Inc. is a nonprofit organization working in Kenya through community based projects emphasizing self-reliance for children and families living in desperate poverty.  The Sunshine Academy in rural Njoro, Kenya is one of the programs the nonprofit helps support.  During the past few years, the Sunshine Academy has built a new classroom for its students and a new kitchen where the children and families get a nutritious daily meal.  The newest venture is a building for sewing classes where women in the community learn to cut and sew school uniforms.  The women are busy outfitting the Sunshine Academy students since uniforms are mandated in Kenya, and they have a goal of making and selling uniforms to other schools.

Your donation to Our Journey Sunshine Academy will go a long way and make a big difference in feeding and educating young children.  A $25 contribution will provide a family a food bag that includes a month supply of rice, corn meal, butter, cooking oil, soap, cabbage, carrots, sugar salt, and wheat flour. A contribution of $20 will provide a student a uniform and a generous donation of $360 will pay tuition for one year.  To read more about Sunshine Academy and to see some heart tugging pictures full of joy and hope, here is a direct link to the

www.ourjourneyinc.org.



Your contribution to Our Journey Sunshine Academy through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest need.



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presbyterian disaster assistance

PDA is the emergency and refugee program of the PC(USA) and the core of its budget, including administrative and staff expenses, is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing.  Program expenses, however, are funded through designated gifts.  PDA responds to natural and human-caused disasters and seeks to bring hope out of chaos in all parts of the world.  Emergency relief helps improve health conditions, makes clean drinking water more assessable and provides food and non-food necessities.  PDA is also involved in long-term recovery programs that address the physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of individuals, families and communities long after the initial crisis is over.  To read more about where PDA is currently responding to crisis situations, here is a direct link to its website www.pda.pcusa.org


Your contribution to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest need.  


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Rahab's Rope

In 2004, Vicki Moore read an article about the prevalence of sex trafficking in India, a country where she had been on several mission trips. It surprised and disturbed her to the point of action and led to the beginning of Rabab’s Rope. The organization’s vision is to see lives transformed by God’s love in action. Each woman in the program is first provided emotional, physical and spiritual support. Next, the women are given basic education and training in vocational skills which enable them to earn an income to support themselves and their children.    

Since 2010, Rahab’s Rope fair trade items have been available for purchase at our in-person AGM.  100% of the profits from these global and local artisans help fund the ministry and offer a life of hope and sustainability. Sixty five percent of Rahab’s Rope funding comes from product orders and the rest is through donations. We are not offering fair-trade items this year, but you may make donations to Rahab’s Rope. To read more about Rahab’s Rope, here is a direct link to its website www.rahabsrope.com.


Your contribution to Rabab’s Rope through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest need.  


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servv

SERVV was one of the first fair trade organizations in the world and began just after World War ll.  It now promotes over 8,000 artisans and farmers every year by selling their beautiful handcrafts.  SERVV’s mission is to help create employment by paying fair wages and encouraging sustainable practices that also support community development while preserving traditional crafting techniques. The rampage of COVID -19 throughout the world has brought many more challenges for artisans and farmers, especially in the undeveloped countries where medicine, vaccines and health care are non-existent. The financial security they previously had from crafting their products has been disrupted.

You can support SERVV’s non-profit fair trade practices with a donation that will supply artisans advance payments to purchase raw materials, provide eye exams and glasses for those who have no access to them, provide grants for training and tools to develop their businesses, and offer support for natural disaster recovery and rebuilding. To read more about SERVV, here is a direct link to its website www.servv.org


Your contribution to SERVV through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest need.  


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Solar Under the Sun

Solar Under the Sun is a ministry of the Synod of the Sun PC(USA), the Synod that includes our Mission Presbytery.  Its ministry is to help alleviate energy poverty.  Its solar schools equip team leaders with the necessary skills to form meaningful partnerships with communities in the developing world, assess their need for solar power, and design and install a solar power system.  In the 12 years since its beginning, graduates from the Solar Under the Sun school have installed solar energy systems that are powering Living Waters for the World water purification systems, wells, schools, churches, orphanages, health clinics, and homes in places that lack reliable electricity.  To read more about SUS, here is a direct link to its website www.solarunderthesun.org


Your contribution to Solar Under the Sun through our church on-line giving platform will support areas of greatest need.  


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