In 2001, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston hosted its first alternative gift market. The market provides an opportunity for buyers to purchase a gift in someone’s name from organizations who work with underprivileged people and areas locally and globally.
"It is a marvelous way to give people an opportunity to buy a gift that’s meaningful," said Judy Erickson, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She said that over the years the word has spread about the market. Since 2001, each year has seen an increase in the amount of money raised for the organizations in the market. In 2005, the market raised $23,000 and last year it raised $28,000.
Erickson said the variety of the gifts available attracts people of different interests. The gifts include supporting environmental, mental health and economic causes. At this year’s market, a person could purchase a year’s worth of school supplies for a Peruvian schoolchild for $20, the price of a DVD. For $55, a person could provide a share of greenhouse and irrigation equipment for a hospital in North Korea. "It makes it a little more special than buying a pair of gloves for someone who probably already has gloves," said Erickson.
The 2007 Alternative Gift Market will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the market and the items available for purchase, visit http://www.uureston.org. The Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 1625 Wiehle Avenue.