Alternative Gift Fair Aims to Bring Christmas Spirit to Community

Today, the Montgomery Advertiser ( ran the following story about the Gift Fair:

Alternative gift fair aims to bring Christmas spirit to community

‘Gifts’ will help nonprofits provide services to clients


For $10, a dozen children can be fed ravioli and macaroni and cheese through Child Protect.

And at the River Region Alternative Gift Fair on Saturday at the Cloverdale Campus of Huntingdon College, that plus other community needs can be “purchased.” The fair is sponsored by the Work Area on Church and Society of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery. “Shoppers” will be able to buy “gifts” from groups to give to their families, friends, co-workers, teachers and clients.

The gifts will not be something tangible to give the recipient. Instead, they will fund specific needs of area nonprofits, including Child Protect, which interviews, counsels and is an advocate for children when there are allegations of abuse.

“We’re very happy to be a part of this,” said Jannah Bailey, executive director of Child Protect.

The fair seeks to offer an alternative to the stress and materialism that sometimes takes over Christmas and holiday celebrations, according to the event website. At the fair, representatives of area nonprofits will be in booths to talk about their work.

“It’s giving back and buying things,” Bailey said. “It gives us a great opportunity to showcase our agency and our mission. I always feel if one person learns something, it has been worth the while.”

Along with the $10 gifts of food for children served through Child Protect, shoppers can spend $5 for box drinks and snacks for 12 children; $25 for a case of DVDs for 20 forensic interviews; and $50 for a half hour of counseling for one child.

Jaime Robards with the Montgomery Area Food Bank said the alternative fair is special because it’s about giving, not getting caught up in the holiday with gifting.

“It’s supposed to be about showing your love for your family and friends and this gets back to that,” said Robards, development and volunteer coordinator at the food bank.

Annually, the Montgomery Area Food Bank reaches out to more than 330,000 people living in poverty, providing nourishing food and personal care products across 35 of Alabama’s 67 counties. Last year, the nonprofit distributed about 20 million pounds of food.

At Saturday’s fair, “shoppers” can purchase 60 nutritious meals for families for $10; four months of food for a senior in need for $25; a sponsorship of Mobile Pantries, reaching 150 families per distribution, for $50; or provide support for the food bank’s capital campaign for $100.

At MANE — Montgomery Area Nontraditional Equestrians — therapeutic horseback riding opportunities are offered to Montgomery and tri-county area children and adults with emotional, physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities. MANE serves 100 riders a week with 10 horses.

Through Saturday’s efforts, a $5 gift would pay for rabies vaccination for one of MANE’s horses; $15 would buy a bag of feed for one horse; $30 would cover the cost of one therapeutic riding lesson for a rider with disabilities; and $50 would help with the purchase of a new ATV for MANE’s 44-acre property.

“A lot of people don’t know where the money goes. I’m really excited for this opportunity,” aid Audrey Adamson, MANE program administrator.

“It’s a great chance to get the community even more involved at a great time of the year.”

Want to go?

Want to go?

WHAT: 2013 River Region Alternative Gift Fair

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Huntingdon College’s Cloverdale Campus (formerly Cloverdale Junior High School), 1125 E. Fairview Ave.

An example of available gifts

Through Family Promise:

  • $5: A blanket or stuffed animal for one homeless child
  • $10: A new pair of pajamas for one homeless child
  • $25: A confidence-boosting makeover or haircut for one homeless adult
  • $50: Support for an updated day center for homeless families

Women of Hope:

  • $5: one item in a support basket given to a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient
  • $10: a resource bag for one woman just diagnosed with breast cancer
  • $25: a sandwich tray at one monthly breast cancer support group meeting
  • $50: a support basket for a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient