Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has a catalog of gifts in a range of prices for purposes such as assuring clean water supply in a village in a developing country, providing for child nutrition, mosquito netting and anti-malaria medicine and much more. Certificates of your gift are provided in exchange for your donation. ERD also packages and sells fair trade “Bishop’s Blend” coffee and coffee gift baskets. The ERD website is http://www.er-d.org/. You can also call Episcopal Relief and Development to order a catalogue at Phone: 800-334-7626, ext 5129
A similar way to make charitable giving fun is by giving to the Heifer Project. They use your donations to provide animals to alleviate hunger and help people become self-sufficient. You can give something as small as a hive of bees or as large as an ark and they give you attractive acknowledgement cards to give to people. Their website is http://www.heifer.org/ or you can call for a catalogue: (800) 422-0474.
A local opportunity for “alternative Christmas shopping” is at Plow Sharing Crafts, a ministry of the Mennonite Church which works with disadvantaged crafts people around the world who are paid a fair wage for their work. (Plowsharing Crafts is part of Ten Thousand Villages). You can find them online at: http://www.plowsharing.org/ Ten Thousand Villages is online at http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/ There are two locations in St Louis, one in Kirkwood at 151 W. Jefferson (314) 909-9401 and the original location in University City at 6271 Delmar (314) 863-3723.
Another fair trade option is MacroSun International. They have a location here in St. Louis at 1310 Washington Ave., 63103 (314) 421-6400, or visit their website at http://www.macrosun.com/.
Trinity Food Ministry is selling Christmas cards for $1.00 a card or if you make a donation in honor of someone, they will send an attractive card as an acknowledgement. For more information on that, call Trinity at 361 4655.
Dr. Mark Manary, a Washington University physician and a member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, has started an organization called Project Peanut Butter, a ministry with undernourished children in Malawi. He uses a high nutrient food to stabilize starving children which uses peanut butter (made from locally grown peanuts, so the project also supports farming in Malawi) as a base. $25 will feed 2000 starving Malawian children. Donations may be sent to: Project Peanut Butter, 7435 Flora, St. Louis 63143. They also send an attractive thank you card if you make a donation in someone’s honor. You can find out more on their website http://www.projectpeanutbutter.org/.
Magdalene is a two year residential program working with women in Nashville with a history of prostitution and drug addiction. As part of the rehabilitation of the women and as a financial support Magdalene began "Thistle Farms" a line of bath and body products. These are natural products that are as kind to the environment as they are to the body. We showcased these products at our Holiday Luncheon this year and samples for viewing in the parish hall. Please check out their website at http://www.thistlefarms.org/ .
And of course you can always buy fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate here at St Mark’s or make a donation to St Mark’s or one of its ministries or funds like the organ fund or access fund, in honor of someone you love. We’ll be happy to send a letter to your friends or family telling that a donation has been made in their honor.