Instead of buying a relative a new shirt or a candle, one event is giving shoppers the chance to buy a prescription for a sick child or a meal for a homeless veteran.
“An alternative gift fair is the gift that gives twice,” said Tara Bibb, a volunteer and organizer for the Gifts that Give Hope event in Arlington. “In this economy, it’s a perfect gift because people want to buy wisely and they want to reduce the focus on consumerism.”
The event hosted at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Arlington is now in its second year locally, Bibb said. Nationally, the Pennsylvania-based Gifts that Give Hope organization raised over $200,000 last year.
Shoppers gather to meet and explore 15 nonprofits all based in and around Arlington. They record where they want to make a donation on behalf of their friend or relative, and receive a holiday card back with a description of their donation.
To get an idea of how it works, for $50 a shopper can contribute a spay or neuter for a pet at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, or $30 could pay for $30 fresh fruit and vegetables to nourish 50 children living in a homeless shelter.
Price points are from $5 to $250. Last year’s event raised a total of $7,000 for area charities, Bibb said.
The fair also has a companion shopping event for children simultaneously. Children come in with piggie banks and can give items like a teddy bear to a sick child.
“They also personalize their own Christmas cards,” Bibb said. “It helps show them the true spirit of giving.”
The event is free to attend and takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2315 S. Grant St., the Calvary United Methodist Church in Arlington.
If you can’t make the event, the group is also allowing shoppers to make the donations at the Gifts that Give Hope- Arlington website, where you can also view a list of the organizations involved.