“Food, fun, gifts for family and friends,” Rev. Dr. Fran Bogle said. “That’s why I love the Gifts that Give Holiday Fair.”
Rev. Bogle has been part of the fair for the last five years, hosting a table to raise money for a peace and justice drama group. She’s also been an avid shopper.
This year she is preparing for the 6th Annual Gifts that Give Holiday Fair, Saturday, December 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Edwards Church UCC in Framingham.
Rev. Bogle was part of a team of planners that decided to add a new dimension to this year’s fair: Santa on an antique fire truck.
Instead of going to the mall to get a picture with Santa, families are invited to come take their own pictures with Santa on an antique fire truck, courtesy of Jim Rousseau. There is no charge to take pictures; participants are invited to make a donation to support the Neighbors Fund (which help local immigrants in crisis).
While outside taking pictures, shoppers can warm up at the Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar, run by the youth of Edwards and Plymouth Churches.
Rev. Bogle is eager to taste the hot chocolate, and then she will go inside for one of her favorite shopping spots: the Equal Exchange table. She will shop for chocolate, coffee and tea, all “Fair Trade Certified” to ensure that the farmers who grew it are compensated justly.
Equal Exchange is one of eight organizations supported by the Alternative Gifts Fair. While the products differ, the tables share a common theme: all the money raised helps make the world a better place.
“Shopping at the Fair helps me give two kinds of gifts,” Rev. Bogle said, “first for my family and friends, and another to the artists and workers who have created the beautiful products.”
It is a long tradition to have a table for Heifer Project International. Heifer Project International empowers families and communities with their “pay it forward” model. A struggling family receives a heifer, or another kind of livestock, which enables them to move toward self-sufficiency. The family agrees to give offspring of their gift to another family, passing on the opportunity.
For the sixth year, Karen Dolliver and Jeannette Loughman are coordinating the SERRV table. Just as Equal Exchange supports small farmers, SERRV ensures that artisans are paid fairly for their handicrafts. “The sales we have,” Dolliver said, “give the artisans and farmers a better chance of helping their families afford education and create income opportunities that will help them become successfully independent.”
The Church World Service Blanket table provides comfort to people hit by disaster—natural and human-made. This year they provide an opportunity to support refugees from Syria and around the world with blankets that provide warmth, safety and shelter. Whenever possible, blankets are purchased from local producers, supporting the economy there.
This year again the Africa Exchange Project will offer hand-made crafts from Tanzania to support fresh water wells, education and health projects in Tanzania.
Other tables include photos and cards from the Just Peace Players, which uses drama to raise awareness about justice issues, crafts from Community of St. Luke, and scarves to support A Place to Turn food pantry.
One regular shopper said “It means a lot to me that my purchasing empowers those who don’t have a lot of power and helps give a boost to someone who just needs a hand up. The Gifts that Give Fair is a win-win for everyone, which sounds like a perfect Christmas to me.”