FUMC Alternative Gift Fair benefits local, global missions



STEPHENVILLE (December 10, 2016) – Anyone still searching for the perfect gifts for hard-to-shop-for friends and loved ones won’t want to miss a unique shopping opportunity on Sunday.

First United Methodist Church Stephenville and its missions’ committee have organized an annual fundraiser that offers shoppers an opportunity to purchase gifts that have a greater impact than traditional fruit cakes and sweaters. It also allows them decide between giving locally or globally.

The Alternative Gift Fair will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday.

Alfred Taylor, mission committee member, said then shoppers buy any of an array of handcrafted items or gifts from around the globe, they can ask that proceeds be given to local missions like Meals on Wheels of Erath County, Treehouse After School Program, H.O.PE., Stephenville School Supplies Project, Habitat for Humanity and others. Shoppers can also choose to have the funds earmarked for the FUMC missions’ committee who will designate donation distribution to the local charities or to the church’s outreach efforts in Mexico and Africa.   

Monetary donations can be made to any of the missions, in which case gift givers can request that a card announcing the honorary contribution be sent to a friend or loved one.

But, Taylor said shoppers will also have the options to walk away with tangible gifts not found at big city shopping malls or through online portals. Most of the gifts were handcrafted locally, in many cases by church members, and shoppers can expect to find things like crosses made of old barn wood and barbed wire.

The selection will also include a selection of gifts from around the world that are obtained through a distributor in the Llano area. Previous year’s options have included fair trade chocolates, hand woven baskets and wooden toys from impoverished villages in Africa, according to Laurie Lively, church member. Lively said she was previously given a one-of-a-kind bird feeder made of coconut shells in the likeness of a monkey.

FUMC women’s ministry has sold a variety of handmade items such as pillowcases and shawls over the years. This year, options will include handcrafted, microwave-safe pot holders.

T-shirts donated by Barefoot Athletics will also be available for purchase.

“All of the money spent at the gift fair goes to local mission or others around the world,” Lively said. “They are definitely gifts with meaning.”

Shoppers are also invited to attend a special musical worship service at 10:30 a.m. and celebrate the season while enjoying performances that will include selections by youth, children’s and handbell choirs. First United Methodist Women will provide a holiday luncheon following the service.

“All of the money spent at the gift fair goes to local mission or others around the world,” Lively said. “They are definitely gifts with meaning.”

FUMC is located at 422 W. Washington Street.

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