Alternative Gift Market


The 14th annual Alternative Gift Market took place in St. John’s Assembly Hall on Sunday, November 19, 2017 from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Thank you to all who attended or volunteered. Your generous donations in 2017 came to more than $7800.  The three charities with the highest totals were: Doctors Without Borders, $1095; The Malala Fund, $545; and Urban Promise, $465.

Here was our 2017 Shopping List as a sample for our November, 2018 event:

See our Mission Partners page for information and links to these AGM organizations listed above.

Thanks also for helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand fight childhood cancer for those who bought lemonade & made a donation during the Alternative Gift Market at our Alex’s Lemonade stand!



Some people are really surprised to learn St. John’s biggest fundraising event of the year raises NO money for St. John’s! It’s true – the Alternative Gift Market each November is a St. John’s MISSION PROJECT to raise funds for worthy organizations that provide needed services in our community, the region, the country, or the world!

Our Alternative Gift Market began in 2004 when member Andrea Tanner brought the idea from her home UCC church in New Jersey. It was immediately embraced by the people of St. John’s and has grown into one of our most popular annual traditions to start the holiday season just before Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas.

The format is simple – a one-stop ‘shopping mall’ filling the Assembly hall with popular ‘charity’ organizations. You receive a shopping list and a bag (or ‘go green’ and bring your own shopping bag!), and ‘shop’ from one booth to the next, pledging donations of varying amounts to buy gifts of a service of that group for each family member, friend, business associate, teacher, neighbor, etc. on your list who will appreciate a donation in their name to a favorite charity rather than more “stuff”! For each donation you receive a gift card and small token gift for the recipient.

When you are finished shopping you fill out the shopping list, marking each donation, quantity and total cost, and take it to the cashiers. (You may also make a voluntary contribution to help defray costs for printing, mailing, etc.) Present this with cash or a personal check (sorry, NO credit cards as this is a one day only event) and you’re ready to go with your shopping done!

Want to help?  The Alternative Gift Market Committee is happy to welcome new members! The committee meets regularly throughout the year to prepare for the one day event in November!  Contact the church office or talk with one of our pastors to get connected!

The Alternative Gift Market begins at 11:30 am so you can come downstairs and shop right after the 10:15 am service. Sandwiches and beverages are available for a donation, including ‘Alex’s Lemonade Stand’, raising money for that organization.  

More Q&A About The St. John’s UCC Alternative Gift Market

Question: What is the St. John’s UCC Alternative Gift Market?

Answer: An opportunity to purchase holiday gifts in honor of a loved one. These gifts are meaningful, non-material and support nonprofit organizations in our community and around the world. At the market, you shop for gifts as you would in a store … except these gifts go to local, national and international humanitarian projects. These gifts focus on those …in need, saving lives, and preserving our planet. Representatives from each charity (or church volunteers) staff tables you can browse for information regarding the mission and projects of each organization. This information can help you choose the right gift donation for each relative, friend, and loved one. 100% of every donation goes directly to the organization.

Question: What would I buy at the Alternative Gift Market?

Answer: In purchasinga gift, youare donating to a charity in honor of a loved one. For example: a gift of $20 might buy a vet clinic visit for a cat at the local Kitty Cottage Cat Adoption Center, or $5 may buy 1/3 flock of chicks for a Heifer Project International site.  Alternative gifts are great options for the “person who has everything”! In addition to your family, alternative gifts are appropriate for co-workers, neighbors, children’s teachers, or hostess gifts.

Question: How much do gifts cost?

Answer: Prices range from about $5 to $30 per gift

Question: What can I do to help ensure a successful Alternative Gift Market?

Answer: Attend the gift market (November 15, 2015) and shop for all the important people in your life. Help us spread the word; the Alternative Gift Market is open to the public! Invite your extended family, friends, neighbors & all!


At times we include in worship the traditional Christian practice of the “laying on of hands” , but only at the Alternative Gift Market will you see the “laying on of paws”!