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Sunday, Mar. 29, 2015

First Presbyterian offers holiday shopping alternative

Friday, November 15, 2013

(Photo)
First Presbyterian Church members plan this year's Gifts from the Heart event.
(Submitted photo)
Christmas is a time for giving and as the Season approaches, our thoughts focus on just the right gift for the host of people to whom we give each year. For several decades, as the average American family's standard of living increased, Christmas evolved into a highly commercialized holiday driven seemingly by a "more is better" philosophy.

Two trends have led some to rethink this philosophy which has determined their Christmas spending and giving habits. One is the economic downturn in the United States which has made a dent in personal income and savings. The second is the glaring lack of basic needs being met in our community, our country and developing countries worldwide.

Non-profit organizations report decreased giving which in turn means cutting services to groups of people who, having fewer resources already, feel the economic pinch more acutely.

First Presbyterian Church, located at N. Brittain St. (behind the Post Office), is offering its ninth annual Christmas Market called Gifts from the Heart to provide solutions to both issues. On Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at 10 a.m. the Fellowship Hall will open to shoppers looking for unique and responsible ways to say Merry Christmas.

In keeping with Christ's words in Matthew 25:40, "when you have done it unto one of the least of these...you have done it unto me," there will be local and international charities to receive donations in honor of people you wish to remember at Christmas.

Shoppers may choose from many worthwhile programs including the Child Development Center, Good Samaritan, CROSS Shelter, CASA, South Central Relative Caregiver Relief, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International or Women of Grace. Good candidates for this type of gift are teachers, nursing home and assisted living residents as well as family, friends and colleagues who have everything they need and much of what they want.

For shoppers who need to purchase and give a more tangible gift, Ten Thousand Villages will be on site with Fair Trade certified wearing apparel, home décor and jewelry made by artisans in developing countries who receive a fair income for the work they do, while ensuring no children were employed, and environmental consciousness was maintained.

Fair Trade coffee, tea and cocoa products will be available for purchase. The money from these sales provides a fair and sustainable income to the farmers and growers in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Presbyterian women will have a large bake sale of all things delicious featuring some of the best cooks in Bedford County, with funds used year around for local activities. In addition the Youth group will be taking orders for Butter Braids, to raise money for the Backpack food program in Bedford County Schools that serves homeless and at-risk students.