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The Alternative Christmas Market — A shop with heart

By Staff | Nov 27, 2014

Moorea Winter Feliciano learns the importance of her own goats as her mother, Taryn, reads the Heifer International storybook “Beatrice’s Goat.” This is a true story about the realities of daily life in an East African Village and the enormous impact of this kind of gift. Heifer International creates sustainable, small-scale farm enterprises that help people lift themselves out of poverty. By agreeing to pass on the gift of their animal’s first offspring to others in need, they build stronger communities and ultimately a better world. PHOTO BY CINDY SCHUMACHER.

KULA – For the first time, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Upcountry Kula will host an Alternative Christmas Market on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The church is located at 8992 Kula Highway in Keokea across the highway from Keokea Park.

The Alternative Christmas Market is an opportunity for charities to offer unique gifts for sale or donation and to inform others about their missions. St. John’s wants to help raise much-needed funds for these local, national and international nonprofit groups and social agencies by hosting this event at the start of the holiday season.

“The Alternative Christmas Market will be a fun way to bypass the stress of holiday shopping,” said Jean Fiddes, St. John’s outreach chairman. “It’s a chance to honor friends and relatives by purchasing gifts, in their names, from nonprofit causes that fit their values.”

The marketplace will be held in the St. John’s parish hall. It offers shopping with heart while providing an opportunity to participate in socially conscious gift giving.

“You’ll not only be able to honor a neighbor or loved one on your gift list, you’ll be helping some of our local nonprofits here on Maui as well as world-wide causes,” said Fiddes, explaining how it works.

“It’s a marketplace, with tables or booths set up, where people can shop for alternative Christmas gifts from agencies that provide services to people in need. This is made possible by shoppers’ purchases or donations, making gifts from these organizations in the name of someone special or of yourself.”

“In addition, participating in this special kind of Christmas shopping provides the joy of giving gifts to a hungry and hurting world,” she said.

Representatives from more than 20 organizations will be present, including The Children’s Justice Center, Aloha House, Maui Youth and Family Services, Malama Family Recovery Center, Hospice Maui, Maui AIDS Foundation, A Cup of Cold Water, Episcopal Relief and Development, Maui Food Bank and more.

Heifer International, one of the worldwide organizations at the Alternative Christmas Market, works to end hunger and poverty through gifts of farm animals and training in under-developed countries. Over the course of 60 years, Heifer International has helped 4.5 million people striving for self-reliance in 128 countries.

The Heifer idea is simple, and it works. Its mission is to care for the Earth and its inhabitants using gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and training in sustainable agriculture. A family’s health and standard of living is greatly improved by what a goat, cow or chickens can provide. This might be milk, eggs or wool from llamas. Each family, in turn, passes on these gifts to another family in need, creating a chain of hope that lifts entire communities.

“Come and browse the charity-sponsored tables, purchase gift items and make charitable donations as alternative Christmas gifts for your family and friends,” said Fiddes, reminding everyone to tell others about the event and to think “outside the gift-wrapped box” for holiday shopping.

Admission is free. For more information, call Fiddes at 878-1485.