Shoppers will have several alternative options for Christmas gifts this year in Marion.
At least 19 charities will be represented Nov. 12 at an Alternative Gift Market, the first of its kind in the county. Organizers met Aug. 27 at Marion Presbyterian Church to select projects.
At the market, booths will be set up for the charities, describing what they do and what certain donation amounts can accomplish.
Visitors can browse the represented charities and decide which ones to donate to. For each charity donated to, visitors will receive an ornament made by local organizers that represents the charity. Alternative Gifts International, which organizes the markets, promotes donating on behalf of someone else and giving them the ornament.
More than 20 people from at least five local churches and other groups were at the organizational meeting. After discussion, they chose charities to represent at the market in November. They chose 19 projects spread throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S. There are also two local projects: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Marion County and Shepherd’s Shed will have booths. Additionally, proceeds from a food court at the event will be donated to Marion County Emergency Food Bank.
Tony Princ, executive director of Alternative Gifts International, said 90 percent of donations go directly to charity. He said the organization has a grueling proposal process for charities that wish to participate with Alternative Gift Markets. The organization looks carefully at those charities’ fiscal responsibility and missions.
The Alternative Gift Market will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Marion Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer or sponsor a booth can call Jackie Volbrecht at (316) 519-5146 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dani Lange at (620) 381-3298 or e-mail her at email@example.com.