Sales contribute to human rights efforts

Interested in giving a gift this holiday season that actually makes an impact on the lives of others? From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 24, the University Presbyterian Church near campus will be holding an Alternative Gift Market and Craft Fair along with a blood drive.

Through the Alternative Gifts International program, gifts can be purchased that support over 30 different kinds of projects. Examples of these projects include reclaiming land, supporting individuals experiencing poverty and empowering people through education and training.

One of the newer projects this year is a mission to rescue victims of sex trafficking. A day of investigative work or an aftercare package for survivors of sex trafficking can be purchased to help support this project.

“It’s really an overview of problems in the world and the solutions. It’s not very often that we get to hear about both at the same time,” said Molly Roth, a member of the University Presbyterian Church who is helping put on the event.

Several of the gift options are below $20 and very friendly to a college student’s budget. For example, purified water for five children in India for a year can be purchased for just $6.

Each of the gifts comes with a card that explains what exactly the gift is doing and how it is making an impact.

“These gifts have a lasting impact on a real person’s life. I can’t think of a better gift than that,” Roth said.

Some of the gifts also benefit local projects in the San Antonio community. One of the projects is to provide school uniforms for students at Beacon Hill Elementary.

“A lot of kids at the school are living in poverty, and we help them to have clean and wearable school uniforms,” said Reverend Kelly Allen, the pastor at the University Presbyterian Church.

Other gifts can benefit some of the church’s own projects, like scholarships to attend the UPC children’s center, supplies and donations for the annual youth mission trip and donations for the Deacon’s Fund, which supports special needs in the San Antonio community.

There will also be free international food and music during the fair. Students are encouraged to come out as long as they would like, even if only to learn about the different projects.

“Why not come? Free food, free current events education and an opportunity to do something good for other people. I can do that for an hour,” Roth said.

Intervarsity recently held a similar Fair Trade Sale last week selling various items like chocolate, mugs and scarves from all over the world. The club was able to raise about $1,600 for the various Fair Trade organizations.

Most of the items come from Trinity students and alumni who have worked with Fair Trade organizations around the world.

“We know one Trinity alum who went to Manila and actually worked with the women and made cards with them” said junior Angela Chen, an urban studies major and small group leader for Intervarsity.

Intervarsity has been holding Fair Trade sales on campus for almost ten years now, usually around the holiday season. Chen enjoys being involved with the sale and getting to share the idea of Fair Trade with other students.

“We aren’t doing this for profit. We’re just doing it to support these organizations,” Chen said.