Gifts at fair sure to please, organizers say

Does that person who has everything really need anything else this holiday season?

Instead of spending money on something that will probably be re-gifted, do something thoughtful for those who are less fortunate.

Giving gifts in others’ names doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, for $3 workers will plant a tree in Haiti or Burundi. A gift of $1 buys 40 doses of medication for health care workers to backpack into distant locales. Closer to home, $5 buys a backpack filled with food for a hungry child in Mesa County to make it through the weekend. A $10 gift buys a box of nails for a local family to build a home through Habitat for Humanity.

Gifts that can be purchased through the Alternative Christmas Fair on Sunday “really are the reason for the season,” said Julie Mamo, executive director of Grand Valley Peace and Justice, the nonprofit group that organizes the annual event.

The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lincoln Park Barn. But don’t worry if you miss the fair Sunday. Gift buyers can purchase items until Dec. 16 through the website of Grand Valley Peace and Justice,

“This is a great opportunity to teach young people what giving, charity and sacrifice is about,” Mamo said.

Twenty local charities and 35 global giving organizations are represented at the alternative fair.

Money raised through a network of 300 alternative fairs throughout the U.S. are spent on necessities in other countries, Mamo said.

Fair trade and organic coffee will be for sale, and refreshments donated from a variety of bakeries will be served. Some gifts made by people in developing countries will be for sale, with proceeds helping them improve their quality of life. Products for sale include items from Light Gives Heat, a nonprofit organization started by a Grand Junction couple, which employs northern Uganda women to make crafts for sale in the U.S.

People can bid on decorated Christmas trees in a silent auction. Credit cards will be accepted this year.

Mamo said it’s encouraging to see families come together to the event to plan out their giving.


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