By Mina Truong, features editor
With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, the pressure is on to do holiday shopping. If you are stumped with what to get for someone, the Alternative Gift Market (AGM) may just give you some options. The Market is a concept of Alternative Gifts International (AGI), a non-profit organization that inspires support for causes by offering donors the option to donate a charitable gift in the honor of someone.
Cheryl Golden, Chair, Division of Humanities, Associate Professor of History, and Kelly McFall, Associate Professor of History, Department Chair, Traditions and Transitions classes will join forces to host the Alternative Gift Fair as their service projects. The Market provides opportunities to purchase tax-deductible gifts that support humanitarian and environmental causes. Booths will be set up at the locations and shoppers can visit informative displays about various projects.
Once they choose an item, they receive cards with descriptive inserts about their gifts. The cards can be personalized and sent to friends and relatives informing them of the gift given in their honor. Golden says “Oftentimes, a small ‘purchase’ will go a long way toward helping people become financially self – sufficient as in micro-loans to entrepreneurs in India. Or recover a family farm, or introduce a new approach for clean water to a community”.
McFall and Joe Goetz, professor of accountancy, are both on the board for the non-profit organization in Wichita and suggested the idea to their students and Golden’s T&T class. The students in the T&T classes divided into various groups that would each focus on a specific aspect of the project, such as marketing, logistics, education and more. There are students who will be responsible for setting up and tearing down, working the table, or educating shoppers about the non-profit organization. While the project has never been done on the Newman campus, Golden says, “The AGI market has a long tradition in Wichita and very successful both locally and nationally. The goals are to raise awareness of problems in the world and offer opportunities for our community to help address those problems in a meaningful way.”
Laura McFall, Wichita AGM Chairperson says, “We’ve raised 26 million dollars over 30 years. And we do it with all with volunteers”.
Laura McFall says that the Alternative Gifts International started in 1981 as a Sunday school project in a Presbyterian Church in California and has grown by numerous organizations hosting markets. She says, “Wichita hosts one of the largest markets in the nation”
“A wide range of what we do is all about sustainability, like the saying, ‘we teach a man to fish instead of just giving them fish,’” says Laura McFall.
“For example if you buy a water well, part of it is designed so that the people in Sudan get the training and have access to keep it going,” McFall said.
The Market at Newman University will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 29 in the Library Atrium and also from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 2. outside the Chapel in Sacred Heart.
There will also be a Wichita Alternative Gift Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Grace Presbyterian Church located on 5002 E. Douglas in Wichita if students are interested in attending.