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Alternative Gift Fair: Taking commercialism out of holiday gift-giving

Event provides holiday presents for charitable causes

Posted: November 5, 2009 9:03 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2009 7:00 a.m.

This weekend's Alternative Gift Fair offers local residents a chance to find creative holiday gifts for their loved ones while supporting others in need either locally, nationally or internationally.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church will host the Santa Clarita Gift Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The fair will take place in the church's Spurling Hall at 24901 Orchard Village Road.

Nearly 20 local, national and international nonprofit organizations such as the SCV Food Pantry, Safe Rides for Teens, Angel Interfaith Network, New Leash on Life, Ten Thousand Villages, Hillside Homes for Children and Episcopal Relief and Development will host gift booths at the fair.

"The Alternative Gift Fair is a different kind of shopping experience," Higginbotham said. "It's a non-profit response to consumerism, in a festival, market booth setting. The gifts you purchase always fit because they revolve around your loved ones and the issues you care about."

Whether it's a mosquito net, shelter, blanket or safe ride home, the fair will offer numerous gifts that can be bought which will benefit others in honor of a purchaser's loved one.

"The gifts benefit someone else either locally or internationally. You can buy a cow, a boat, medicine, seeds, tools and more," said Mary Jo Higginbotham, chairperson of the event.

But it's not necessarily what the gift is that matters, so much as what its purpose is and who it will help, Higginbotham said.

For example, a gift purchased from the Knock Foundation, which creates opportunities for under-served populations in Africa, will benefit an orphanage being built in Moshi, Tanzania.

"You come in and purchase a gift (from the foundation) for $25. You get a unique gift card that you then give to someone who cares about children and their education," Higginbotham said.

That card lets a loved know that the gift was given in their name.

Beyond gift cards or small tokens, organizations such as Ten Thousand Villages will bring hand-crafted items made outside the U.S., Higginbotham said.

Admission to the fair is free. For more information, call (661) 259-7307.


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