Struggling to find a gift for someone who has "everything" or is tricky to buy for? Make sure to stop by Storm Lake United Methodist Church's Holiday Fair Trade Festival this upcoming weekend to find the perfect unique item.
This is the second time the church has held a free trade fair. Former associate pastor Paula Cripps-Vallejo previously introduced the idea. Now that she has left Storm Lake, the church's missions committee is carrying on the tradition.
"Things are often made in masses, and people are not paid a fair wage for what they do," said missions committee member Susan Thompson. "It's a way of helping out small artisans in different countries. They get a fair wage and get more money out of this."
Items for sale include jewelry, toys, home decor and other gifts from Ten Thousand Villages; coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate from Equal Exchange and soup mixes, cookie mixes, sauces and dips from the Women's Bean Project.
Products represent American fair-trade co-ops, as well as artisans from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Handmade items are often made from natural, recycle or sustainable materials. Two of the committee's favorite items include a thumb piano created from a tomato paste can, and a basket made of rolled-up newspaper.
"They're not something you can find at a big retailer or a department store," Thompson said. "You're helping an individual person not involved in a big corporation."
Proceeds not only benefit international artisans, but local and international missions as well.
Over the past several years, the missions committee has provided local needy children with backpacks filled with school supplies, sweatpants, underwear and socks. Church members have also served through missions trips for disaster clean-up projects in New Orleans, La., and Applington, Iowa.
The Holiday Fair Trade Festival will be held at Storm Lake United Methodist Church's Family Life Center Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Storm Lake United Methodist is located at 211 East Third Street, with the Family Life Center accessible through the Cayuga Street entrance.