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Market offers gift of charity

First meeting Thursday

Staff writer

Anyone struggling to think of a Christmas gift for a friend or family member this winter will have an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary — give to a charity on that person’s behalf.

An Alternative Gift Market will be Nov. 12 in Marion, with displays and information about numerous charities for disabled or disadvantaged people and environmental causes. Visitors will be able to donate in someone else’s name and will receive an ornament they can give to that person.

Jackie Volbrecht of Marion began spearheading the project when she moved from Wichita last year. She has been involved with Alternative Gift Markets for about 10 years.

At her urging, volunteers from Marion Presbyterian Church presented information about American Near East Refugee Aid at the 2010 Alternative Gift Market in Wichita. The charity works to provide health and nutrition education to new and expectant mothers in Lebanon.

Others among the 41 charities in the 2010 Alternative Gift Market in Wichita included feeding hungry and homeless Americans, supporting deaf and orphaned children in Kenya, rescuing girls from forced prostitution in India and Southeast Asia, supplying mosquito nets to families in India, and reducing disease with solar cooking in Africa. There is no minimum amount for donations.

Volbrecht said Alternative Gift Markets are a blessing to everybody involved. Volunteers and donors learn about international charities, gift “recipients” get an unusual Christmas gift, and the people the charities serve get much-needed help.

“I don’t see any downside,” Volbrecht said. “It’s just all good.”

Volunteers are needed to learn and present about the charities involved. The first organizational meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Marion Presbyterian Church.

“It’s not a commitment of time at this point,” Volbrecht said.

For more information, contact Volbrecht at (316) 519-5146 or jackie@estates.kscoxmail.com.

Alternative Gift Markets are part of the charity Alternative Gifts International.

Last modified March 24, 2011

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