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Edwards Church, United Church of Christ (UCC), Framingham, MA
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“A Win-Win Shopping Excursion”–Gifts that Give Holiday Fair is coming up!

“A Win-Win Shopping Excursion”

“Food, fund, gifts for family and friends,” Rev. Dr. Fran Bogle begins.  “That’s why I love the Gifts that Give Holiday Fair.” Bogle has been part of the fair for the last four years, hosting a table to raise money for a peace and justice drama group.  She’s also been an avid shopper.  This year she is preparing for the fifth Annual Gifts that Give Holiday Fair, Saturday, December 2, from 12:15-4 pm at Edwards Church UCC in Framingham.


One of Bogle’s favorite shopping spots is the Equal Exchange table.  She will shop for  chocolate, coffee and tea, all “Fair Trade Certified” to ensure that the farmers who grew it are compensated justly.


Equal Exchange is one of eight organizations supported by the Alternative Gifts Fair.  While the products different, the tables share a common theme: all the money raised helps make the world a better place.


Shopping at the Fair helps me give two kinds of gifts,” Bogle concludes, “first for my family and friends, and another to the artists and workers who have created the beautiful products.”


It is a long tradition to have a table for Heifer Project International.  Heifer Project International empowers families and communities with their “pay it forward” model.  A struggling family receives a heifer, or another kind of livestock, which enables them to move toward self-sufficiency.  The family agrees to give offspring of their gift to another family, passing on the opportunity.


Ellie Kell’s table offers more animal-related giving, through NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services).  Proceeds from the sale of dog treats will support NEADS, based in Princeton, Massachusetts, which trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities and returning veterans, and for service in classrooms, counseling offices, and houses of worship.  Edwards Church has a special connection with NEADS, which trained their ministry dog Jeannie.


For the fifth year, Karen Dolliver and Jeannette Loughman are coordinating the SERRV table.   Just as Equal Exchange supports small farmers, SERRV ensures that artisans are paid fairly for their handicrafts.  “The sales we have,” Karen says, “give the artisans and farmers a better chance of helping their families afford education and create income opportunities that will help them become successfully independent.”


The Church World Service Blanket table provides comfort to people hit by disaster—natural and human-made.  This year they provide an opportunity to support refugees from Syria and around the world with blankets that provide warmth, safety and shelter.  Whenever possible, blankets are purchased from local producers, supporting the economy there.


Other tables include photos and cards from the Just Peace Players, which uses drama to raise awareness about justice issues, and scarves to support A Place to Turn food pantry.


One regular shopper says,  “It means a lot to me that my purchasing empowers those who don’t have a lot of power and helps give a boost to someone who just needs a hand up.  The Gifts that Give Fair is a win-win for everyone, which sounds like a perfect Christmas to me.”


The Gifts that Give Holiday Fair is being held Saturday, December 2 from 12:30-4 pm at Edwards Church, 39 Edwards Street in Framingham.  For more information or directions, see or call 508-877-2050.


Pastor at Edwards Church