It’s easy to get wrapped up in the countless sales and excessive buying that often define this time of year. In 2007, Jenn Knepper was searching for a way to escape the consumer-laden holiday season when she came across a newspaper article about an alternative-gift fair in Harrisburg. The article inspired Jenn to introduce a similar event in Lancaster the following year with the goal of refocusing holiday spending on helping others.
On December 12, the 14th annual Gifts That Give Hope Fair will make its in-person return to the Farm & Home Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair offers opportunities to donate to local nonprofits in the name of a loved one (also known as alternative gifts), as well as purchase ethically and sustainably sourced gifts from businesses with charitable backgrounds.
Last year, the volunteer-run virtual fair brought in over $22,000 worth of alternative gifts that supported local nonprofits and charitable organizations during a time when they desperately needed funding. Over the past 21 months, local nonprofits have worked tirelessly to provide those in need with housing, mental and physical healthcare, educational services and addiction counseling. They have also welcomed refugees into our community, provided children with mentoring and extracurricular programs and offered aid to struggling communities both near and far. Unfortunately, the effects of the pandemic continue to linger and there is still a lot of work to be done to keep our neighbors safe, housed, fed and healthy.
This year, 30 local nonprofits will host tables at the fair where attendees can learn more about how a donation will give hope to those they support. If you choose to donate, you will be given a greeting card with a descriptive insert about the organization’s mission to give to your loved one. Nonprofits in attendance will include Aaron’s Acres, Clare House, Rafiki Africa, Music for Everyone and United Way of Lancaster, to name a few.
The fair’s marketplace will feature fair trade and sustainable gifts from social enterprises and charitable organizations, such as Revolution Lancaster, Friendship Heart Gallery, Lush Bazaar, Girl Crush Company, My Peruvian Treasures and more. Be sure to grab a bite to eat from their food vendors, including Lancaster Stroopie Company (which provides refugee women with meaningful employment), Character Coffee Cart, Walk-O Taco, Gourmet Julie’s Way and Homage.
For kids, the gift fair will offer a Human Rights Scavenger Hunt. Human Rights Day was first recognized on December 10, 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was announced by the United Nations. Eleanor Roosevelt spearheaded the drafting of the declaration as a commitment to work towards a world where the horrors of human rights violations would no longer take place. Since the alternative-gift fair falls close to Human Rights Day, kids of all ages will be able to participate in a scavenger hunt that matches the various articles in the declaration with the nonprofits that are working towards human rights initiatives, including ending slavery worldwide, providing safe and affordable housing, making healthcare and clean water accessible and more. After completing the scavenger hunt, participants will be able to select a free book about human rights from The Get Stuff Done Book Club. Father Christmas will also be in attendance and will host a story time for kids every 30 minutes.
To learn more about the Gifts That Give Hope Fair, visit giftsthatgivehope.org/lancaster. Donations can also be made online here.