2018 Alternative Gift Market & Festival now open!

The Alternative Gift Market & Festival is an opportunity to honor those who have enough, by giving to those who have little. Give to local, national and international missions - no wrapping required, and make a difference in the lives of others. Purchase a “gift” which benefits those in need while honoring or in memorium of a loved one.

Receive a beautiful Christmas card at the event reflecting your contribution along with information about your chosen mission just in time for the holidays. Show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life while giving to those organizations who help better the lives of God’s children in need.

Remember those new shoes you wouldn’t take off—the shiny “Mary Janes” or the basketball high tops? What about your son’s excitement with his Bat Man backpack? Although those days are gone, you still have a chance to imagine the thrill a new pair of shoes or backpack will give a local, needy child with a donation to “Day 4 Hope.” Another agency that helps with school supplies is the “Laurel Civic Association” where a donation can provide necessary school supplies for a high school student—or meals for up to 80 students per day for a week.

How exciting to return home after a long trip—and sleep in your own bed. Now, imagine having no bed—for yourself or your family. A donation to “Family Promise” can help a local homeless family receive personal care items, gas, or needed childcare while the parents look for a job. Or perhaps they are ready for that first home. The feel of the shiny, new doorknob in our first home is etched in our memory forever. How exciting to envision the joy on the faces of a family entering their first home provided by “Habitat for Humanity” and to realize you provided that door handle for them—or gave them their very first toilet. 

We all understand trying to stretch our monthly paycheck to cover regular and unexpected expenses—and the heart-stopping revelation that some bills will have to wait. What a joy to go to bed at the end of a month—realizing that someone you do not know can sleep well tonight because you paid their utility bill or helped them pay their rent through your contribution to “Center for Hope.” Or, imagine a family at the breakfast table—with enough food to fill their stomachs and gas to fill their car through your gift to the “Community Assistance Ministries.”

We call a repairman to fix our stove—or a plumber to install a water filter. Now imagine that you have never had a drink of filtered water or that the only stove you have ever known is in the middle of your home—where your family spends every meal breathing in the smoke it emits. What a joy to know that you have provided a new stove or water filter to someone you may never know in Guatemala—through “Helps International” and have improved the health of a whole family. Or, perhaps you can directly improve a Guatemalan family’s health by providing eyeglasses, dental work, or prescription medicine through “Clinica Medica Salvatore/Orphans.”

Those of us fortunate enough to have had children remember the elation of a planned pregnancy—while also recalling the accompanying worry and pain. Now, imagine unexpectedly finding out you were pregnant with no idea where to go or what to do. Alleviating that uncertainty, worry, and pain is the focus of the local “Pregnancy Solutions” where your gift can provide both support and needed baby gifts to new parents.

While we might dream of a mission trip to help Christians in other countries, but our health or schedule will not allow travel now, there are countless farm workers at nearby Immokolee who need health care, clothing or food your donation to “Mision Peniel” can provide. Or you can help provide international Christian leaders with a spiritual retreat in Vienna, Austria, by donating to “Training Christians for Ministry.” Finally, you can provide vitamins, dental equipment, or diapers to missionary partners in the Caribbean through our local “Agape”—or give one of their dedicated pilots a bed and meal at their destination.

The countless opportunities and choices to share the privileges which God has provided us—with a “gift” in memorium or to honor a loved one—are available this Christmas Season through Venice Presbyterian’s “Alternative Gift Market and Festival”—after church on both December 2 and 9—where you can join other Christians in fellowship with refreshments at the exhibit in Fellowship Hall.