Alternative Gift Fair

Alternative Gift Fair header

Join us on Sunday, November 6!

9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Blessed Sacrament Social Hall & Gym

What is the Alternative Gift Fair?

Want to give a gift that will be life changing? The Alternative Gift Fair prioritizes meaning over materials and allow you to give a gift that is life-saving in many ways, never goes out of style, can be any price you want and will have an impact far beyond the holiday season. Honor the special people in your life with gifts that inspire, have an impact beyond the holiday season, give hope and improve the lives of others who may not be on anyone’s gift list. If you are looking for a gift that means more than your average purchase consider attending!

The Alternative Gift Fair is sponsored by the Social Justice Committee.

Organizations Represented

ACT-Agape Community Transformation

Blessed Sacrament has developed a partnership with the poor, rural area of Muko in southwest Uganda.  A talented group of women from Muko Sub-County have created beautiful hand-crafted baskets, beaded jewelry, as well as sewn items. Additionally, a group of gifted women in mid-Michigan share their talents with ACT by making placemats, table runners, handbags and more made from African fabrics. The hand crafters get paid a very fair wage for each handcraft, and proceeds from all handcraft sales go back into the programs of ACT. Know that your purchase makes a difference in many lives.

Blessed Sacrament Knights of Columbus

This organization is known for its many charitable works. One way they fund their endeavors and build community is with their homemade soups. These homemade soups will be available for a free will donation.

Cancer Services of Midland

This organization provides urgent needs support to people dealing with cancer. They provide transportation and connect cancer patients with other resources in the community, help with long distance lodging and prevention programs in the schools and community. Make a contribution in honor of someone to allow this organization to continue to help those dealing with cancer.

Carol-o-Gram Supporting High School Outreach

The Youth Outreach team does a number of fundraisers during the year to support their outreach projects including their trip to help those in need. For a free will donation at the Alternative Gift Fair, you can order Christmas carols for yourself, a neighbor, a friend, a relative, for the person who has everything, for the homebound, or for someone for whom Christmas will be a difficult time. Proceeds benefit the Youth Outreach Group. Justin Rose, 835-6777.

Children’s Grief Center

This organization provides a safe and healing environment for children, teens and their families as they grieve the death of a parent, sibling, close family member or friend. They create an atmosphere that fosters healing through peer support and trained volunteers. The participants use art, dance, theatre, storytelling and writing to express their feelings and share their experiences with each other.

Chippewa Nature Center

Chippewa Nature Center’s (CNC) mission is to connect all people with nature through educational, recreational and cultural experiences. CNC is one of the largest private non-profit nature centers in the United States. Established in 1966, CNC offers a Visitor Center with free admission and 19 miles of trails and 1,500 acres to explore. Nature related items will be available for purchase.

Civitan Club

The Midland Civitan Club is dedicated to helping people in their own communities with an emphasis on people with disabilities and their families. You can purchase Claxton Fruitcakes to help support their causes.

Fair Trade Coffee & Chocolate

Who doesn’t love coffee, tea or chocolate? Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods.

The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world’s coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as “sweatshops in the fields.” Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. Fair Trade is a viable solution to this crisis, assuring consumers that the coffee we drink was purchased under fair conditions. To become Fair Trade certified, an importer must meet stringent international criteria; paying a minimum price per pound, providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship. We will have Fair Trade coffee and chocolates from Divine Chocolate in Ghana. We will also have Advent Calendars which reveal a portion of the Christmas story and yields a scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate heart.

Global Compassion

Global Compassion is a nonprofit public charity run by volunteers to help people in need. The top outreach priority is to drill borewells for clean drinking water to people in remote villages in India. The other projects are supporting education, empowering women to self-sufficiency, and community outreach to help those in emergency needs. You will be able to purchase Indira’s Homemade Exotic Jams, pure silk scarves, soup packages, and jewelry. Indira Oskvarek, 835-1127.

Global Mamas

Global Mamas is a nonprofit organization helping small women-led enterprises in Africa. By purchasing Global Mamas products, you are offering sustainable livelihoods to women and their families living in poverty. All proceeds go directly to the women and to nonprofit programs that assist them with business development. Richard & Tami Adam, (989) 832-9174

Guatemalan Stove Team

Teams from Blessed Sacrament and other churches have gone to Guatemala to install these new fuel efficient and cleaner burning stoves which replace dangerous open cooking fires. Local entrepreneurs have started factories using local labour and materials to produce these stoves. You can make a contribution to allow more stoves to be purchased and installed.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. In the U.S., Habitat for Humanity lends no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans to its beneficiary families. Each recipient family is expected to invest “sweat equity” in building their home. 496-0900.

Heifer International

Heifer International is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help end world hunger and poverty through self-reliance & sustainability. Heifer projects around the world help families achieve self-reliance through the gift of livestock and training. Over the last year, Heifer was able to assist more than 1.9 million families directly and indirectly. Gifts are passed from recipient to recipient until entire communities are transformed. Heifer was listed by the Harris Interactive Brand survey as one of the top 10 most trusted non-profits in America. Make a donation to purchase an animal for a family in need.

Home To Stay Housing Alliance

This agency, previously known as Midland Area Homes, has been serving Midland County for over 40 years improving housing conditions for safe and independent living. They are a resource for rental assistance and furniture pick-up and distribution.

Kay Lasante, House of Health

Kay Lasante, “House of Health,” is a health care project in Port au Prince, Haiti. Kay Lasante was founded by the St. Claire Parish community in Haiti and the House of Grace Catholic Worker, Philadelphia Pa. together with Bishop Tom Gumbleton, Detroit. Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere. Money is needed to complete the construction on the clinic building and for start-up costs for purchasing supplies, equipment, medicines, and salaries for Haitian employees. Various items from Haiti will be for sale.

Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network

The goal of this organization is to ensure every family has enough food. In addition to their regular food program, they provide vouchers for nutritional supplements to cancer patients, sponsor monthly mobile pantries and the Backpack Buddies Program which provides a backpack of food each weekend to low income children. Make a donation to this agency to honor a family member, neighbor or friend.

Midland County Foster Closet

This organization is committed to serving children in the foster care system in Midland County from infancy to 18 years of age. They provide clothing, shoes, outerwear, personal hygiene goods, new toys, new books, baby equipment and other items to foster families.

Midland Kids First

This Midland County organization provides evidenced-based interventions for at-risk youth to assure they become well adjusted, responsible, and contributing members of the community. One program is the Midland Mentors program which seeks to provide positive role models for youth in the day treatment program at the Midland County juvenile care center thereby reducing the likelihood that these youth will engage in high-risk behaviors. Other programs include a substance use disorder treatment initiative, identifying children in unsafe environments and helping high-need, high-risk and emotionally disturbed youth stay with their families.

Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP)

NP of Midland supports the vision of International NP’s “Worldwide culture of peace in which conflicts within and between communities and countries are managed through nonviolent means.” Our local chapter raises donations for international peace and also has helped train Midland area students and adults in conflict resolution skills.


Malaria infects more than 500 million people a year and kills more than a million. Malaria is both a preventable and treatable disease. Despite the magnitude of the problem, there is a simple and cost-effective solution to prevent malaria deaths-bed nets. Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for up to four years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than the family. When enough nets are used, the insecticide used to deter mosquitoes makes entire communities safer—including even those individuals who do not have nets. $10 is all that is needed to purchase one net.

Peanut Butter Project

In 1999, Dr. Mark Manary, a Bay City native, went to Malawi to study malnutrition. He worked with a number of people to develop a therapy food that didn’t spoil or needed to be cooked, was energy dense and could be given in small amounts.. Today this peanut butter formula is being given to thousands of malnourished children in Malawi.  95% of children receiving this formula reach their ideal weight for their height  The formulation is produced and packaged in Malawi which helps support the local economy. For $1.00, children will be able decorate sugar cookies with proceeds benefiting the Peanut Butter Project. You will also be able to make a contribution and receive a peanut ornament.

Phoenix Community Farms

Phoenix Community Farms is a nonprofit farm that serves the Midland community with fresh produce, education about growing, harvesting, preparing, eating, & preserving produce. They will have grapevine wreaths and dried herbs for sale.

Red Dirt Road

Red Dirt Road was co-founded by the Harpswell Foundation and former parishioner Marie Eckstein. The Harpswell Foundation works to Empower a New Generation of Women Leaders in Cambodia. Red Dirt Road helps women in a remote village in Cambodia design, produce and market beautiful handmade fashion accessories, enabling them to build their own business to support their families in this impoverished country. All profits are returned to the women.

Royal Family Kid’s Club

Royal Family Kid’s Clubs offers a way to mentor foster children at a critical developmental stage (ages 6-12) and build healthy new patterns that can change their lives. They offer an intensive, year-round program through multi-denominational neighborhood churches – with no fees charged to foster families. They also provide free 5-day residential summer camps with one counselor for every 2 children building a week of positive memories. They are the nation’s leading network of camps for abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Salvation Army Adopt A Family

Make Christmas more joyful this year by adopting a family through The Salvation Army. The Adopt-A-Family program, is designed to provide Christmas gifts and food to needy families. In Midland County many families will sign up to be adopted but few will be adopted.  (989)- 496-2787

Serrv International

SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide. SERRV works with thousands of small-scale artisans and farmers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and other developing regions of the world by marketing their handcrafts. In addition to purchasing and marketing products, Serrv works with producers to assist them in becoming economically self sufficient through product design, training, information, technical assistance and market access. You will be able to purchase a wide variety of hand crafted products that will benefit the artisans supported by Serrv.

The Arc

The Arc of Midland is a nonprofit organization which promotes the general welfare of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and increases their presence, participation and inclusion in the community.