“In our commercial society, it can be hard to find a meaningful gift. An ‘alternative’ is to give to worthy non-profit causes or purchase items that support their missions.”
So reads a sign at the entrance of the Bent Corridor in the Science Center. Looking down the hallway, nearly a dozen tables covered in unique handmade goods line the wall. Behind each table stands a volunteer representing nonprofits in Oberlin, Lorain County, and around the world. This is the Alternative Gift Fair and Market.
Now in its eighth year, the Alternative Gift Fair and Market boasts fair trade items, winter apparel, Guatemalan textiles, reclaimed jewelry, and more. Proceeds from the sale of these items go toward nonprofits whose missions range from building a stronger, more sustainable regional food system in Northeast Ohio to supporting human rights work in Guatemalan and Maya communities. The event is sponsored by the Bonner Center for Service and Learning and the Office of the President of Oberlin College.
“Everyone selling is a nonprofit, so it’s all for a good cause,” says Kathy Spencer, who organized this year’s event. “You can get all of your holiday shopping done and give a gift that gives twice. And if you don’t want to buy anything, you also have the option just to donate.”
Spencer says last year’s event raised more than $10,000 for the various nonprofits involved. It’s a sum she expects this year’s event to match—if not beat—as she says turnout has been good and is expected to build in the event’s remaining days.
You can find the Alternative Gift Fair and Market in the Bent Corridor of the Science Center through Friday, December 5 at 1:30 p.m. If you can’t make it before Friday, see the selection of unique holiday gifts Saturday, December 6 from 10:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. at Eastwood School at 198 East College Street.
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