Alternative Gift Fair 2020

Welcome to the 11th Annual Alternative Gift Fair! It looks a little different this year, like most things, but we’ve done our best to give you as much of the Alternative Gift Fair as we can. We have fair trade items for purchase, alternative gifts, and even an electronic Children’s Corner! The Alternative Gift Fair runs from November 1st to December 13th, so be sure to put in your order in time!

The fair trade items are for sale via a fundraising link from SERRV, so your purchase helps support the church as well as local artisans around the world! Items include handmade jewelry, scarves, toys, ornaments, foods, spices, home decor, and much more. Keep an eye out for the special sales as well! 

In the Children’s Corner, kids get budgets from their parents and pick out gifts for loved ones without their parents seeing what they purchased! Children’s Corner items are all handmade fair trade gifts and cost $1-$12. This year, the shopping is conducted over video chat, so be sure to sign up early for a time slot! Read the section below for the exciting new process. 

We also have alternative gifts available! Consider making a donation to one of the 17 organizations featured below as a gift to a family member, friend, or co-worker!

If you still can’t find a gift for that person who has everything, consider choosing an alternative gift, a donation to one of the 17 local, national, and international charities and mission projects featured!

We’re trying hard to make it easy for you, but this is definitely a change. If you have any trouble with the procedure or are uncomfortable using PayPal or website-based donation, please contact us at agf@firstpreshc.org and we will do our best to help you out. 

Be sure to share this page with your friends, neighbors and family!

Fair Trade Items from SERRV

SERRV is a fair and ethical trade company founded in 1949, sourcing items from 24 countries worldwide. Their network includes over 8,000 artisans and farmers. They provided us with a fundraising link, so your purchase helps support the church as well as local artisans around the world! Items include handmade jewelry, scarves, toys, ornaments, foods, spices, home decor, and much more.  The website is active until December 13th.

Please verify that the website shows an orange banner saying ‘20% of your order today will be donated to First Presbyterian Church of Howard County’ before you start shopping! 

Special Offers:
Nov 14-15: Free ground shipping (code: SEHOLIDAY20)
Nov 21-22: Free $10 Gift Card with every $50+ purchase (code:SEGC20)
Dec 5-6: Free ground shipping over $50 (code SESNOWMAN20)

Children’s Corner

Children’s Corner is a place where kids and teens (and cash-strapped college students!) can shop for fair-trade gifts on a video call with our volunteers, no parents allowed! We even wrap them for you to help keep your purchases a secret! 

Here’s the process this year: 

  1. Click here or click the button below to sign up for a time slot. Appointments are available from Wednesday, December 2 through Saturday, December 5th. 
sign up here

2. Before your appointment, plan your mission! Figure out who you’re buying gifts for (such as parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, teachers, babysitters, and friends) and the total amount you can spend. All gifts in the Children’s Corner cost between $1 and $12; most are between $4-$8. Make a list to keep yourself organized. 

3. During your appointment you’ll get to video chat (via FaceTime or Google Duo) with volunteers who will show you the gifts you can buy. They’ll make a list of what you chose and help keep track of the total. 

4. Afterwards your parents will receive an emailed invoice with the total amount due. They can pay online via PayPal or drop off a check when you pick up your purchases.  

5. Volunteers will wrap the presents that you chose. They’ll be ready for pickup at the church on Saturday and Sunday (12/5 and 12/6). 

Parents (and youth/college shoppers): Your first and most important step is to make a shopping appointment! After you schedule your appointment(s), you’ll receive a confirmation email with additional details about the process, and we will determine what will work best for your family. 

If you have questions or need help making your appointment, contact Kathy Woods, Linda Fazzari, or email agf@firstpreshc.org.

Alternative Gifts

Because the 2020 Alternative Gift Fair is a virtual event, you may find it easiest to donate directly to the organizations listed below. Included are local, national, and international programs as well as a few of the mission projects underway at First Pres. To ease the increased burden that the virtual event puts on the church’s financial team, we ask that you give money directly to the charities when possible through their websites

Use the form below to donate to First Pres programs, or if you don’t want to donate on a charity’s website and would rather the donation go through the church.  The form is active until December 6th.

Alternative Gifts Form

To donate to an organization or mission project through the church, please fill out our form here:

The form is the only way for us to make sure your donation goes right where you want, and it provides a link to the church’s PayPal upon form completion. The form also sends a receipt upon completion. We ask that you tally the receipt and make sure it matches your PayPal receipt. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use the provided PayPal link; credit cards are accepted. 

If you choose to donate directly to an organization, please do not include it on the Alternative Gift Fair Order Form. 

Mission projects at First Presbyterian Church of Howard County:

Donations to these projects must be included on the Alternative Gift Fair Order Form.  

  • Guatemala Coffee Project: Provides microgrants to members of the church’s partner presbytery in Guatemala to grow coffee.
  • Guatemala Scholarship Program: Provides scholarships to youth in the church’s partner presbytery in Guatemala to attend school in grades 7-12, which is not provided by the government.
  • Guatemala Stove Project: Provides efficient, vented cooking stoves to families in the church’s partner presbytery in Guatemala to improve air quality in the homes and decrease the amount of firewood needed.

Please click on the links for the organizations below to learn more about them and donate directly.

Local Organizations:

Animal Advocates of Howard County: 

Bridges to Housing Stability:

Feed Howard County:

Grassroots Crisis Intervention: 

HopeWorks:

  • Provides support and advocacy for people in Howard County affected by sexual and intimate partner violence and engages the community in creating the change required for prevention.
  • https://wearehopeworks.org/ 

Howard County Special Olympics:

  • Year-round training and competitive sports program for adults and kids with intellectual disabilities and/or closely related developmental disabilities
  • http://somdhc.org/

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland:

National/International Organizations:

Church World Services: 

  • 26 diverse assistance programs all over the world, often related to refugees and food scarcity
  • https://cwsglobal.org/

Equal Justice Initiative: 

  • Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the US, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
  • https://eji.org/

Heifer International: 

  • Numerous programs addressing hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by investing in local farmers and their communities
  • https://www.heifer.org/

Medical Benevolence Foundation: 

  • Equipping the medical ministry of the Church in each country to use the gifts God has given them, so they can be who God has created them to be. This approach empowers them to provide measurable, lasting change.
  • https://medicalmission.org/

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: 

The Trevor Project: 

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund:

  • Committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts.
  • https://www.transgenderlegal.org