AN ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE AGM CO-CHAIRS – FROM THE OCTOBER 2022 ENLIGHTENER
For many reasons we feel we should postpone AGM 2022, and come back even stronger next fall! We held our last two Alternative Gift Markets virtually, and it’d have to be virtual again year.
We’d rather wait until next Fall, and have our market in person! We have an exciting new idea for next year’s AGM, keeping us COVID safe AND in person! Stay tuned for details!
In the meantime, we will meet with our AGM committee to discuss the two new nonprofits who’d like to participate, and determine which 20 nonprofits we will support. Our big new idea will be hashed out, and plans will be made for AGM 2023 – in person! We love the energy and good vibes from getting all those like-minded people together, doing good things for charities!
If you’re interested in joining our “Dream Team” please contact either of us.
A big, enthusiastic “Thank You” to John Hendricks for all the work he did to promote AGM 2020 and AGM 2021 online. We greatly appreciated his efforts and expertise! We couldn’t have done it without him.
Amy Ryan Faga and Nicole Groff
AGM Co Chairs
Remember! You can still contribute to your favorite St. John’s AGM organizations in 2022 by making individual contributions directly to the nonprofits! Their website addresses are listed below – go to the websites and find out how to donate!
Many thanks from St. John’s Alternative Gift Market Committee to everyone who shopped and purchased gifts at the 2021 virtual Alternative Gift Market! A total of $4533 was raised for our Market charities and will be distributed to them by the end of December. To find out how much was donated to which charities, please stop by the bulletin board in the hallway near the library.
We also have a special Facebook page dedicated to the St. John’s Alternative Gift Market. Here you will find a mission statement for each organization, and links to their Facebook pages and websites. Anyone who has registered on Facebook and has a Facebook login can access this public page: Click the link below: https://www.facebook.com/AGM.St.Johns.UCC/
Our 2021 Alternative Gift Market Shopping List: It can be printed from the links below and is also printed in the November Enlightener.
Click this link for a printable pdf file of the shopping list: 2021 St. John’s Alternative Gift Market Shopping List
Click this link for a printable Word file of the shopping list: 2021 AGM Shopping List
THE PARTICIPATING 2021 AGM ORGANIZATIONS:
(Listed in alphabetical order)
Alpha Bravo Canine – https//www.alphabravocanine.org/ Alpha Bravo Canine’s mission is to provide trained service dogs to U.S military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other combat related disabilities.
Angel Flight East – http://angelflighteast.org (AFE) is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the community by facilitating free air transportation for children and adults with medical conditions who need to get to treatment far from home.
Bethany Children’s Home – http://www.bethanyhome.org/ The mission of Bethany Children’s Home is to provide a safe place of nurture, protection, and supportive care to aid our residents in their self-understanding, growth, and healing toward a brighter, healthier future. 1863 Bethany Rd Womelsdorf, PA 19567. (610) 589-4501
Doctors Without Borders – http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/ We are Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). We help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care.
The Fred Rogers Company – http://www.fredrogers.org/ We honor Fred by carrying on his work. We’re proud to be building on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom.
Good Samaritan Fund/Emergency Fund – Outreach Team | St Johns UCC (st-johns-ucc.org) These are special funds used at the discretion of our St. John’s pastors to help people in our Lansdale area community who need emergency financial help with bills and payments, etc. Run by St. John’s UCC Lansdale.
Hedwig House – https://www.hedwighouse.org/ Provides support, job training, and long-term housing to individuals with mental illness. The goal of Hedwig House is to provide support and assistance to individuals with mental illness in pursuit of independence and personal fulfillment.
Heifer International https://www.heifer.org/ We work in 21 countries around the world alongside local farmers and business owners. We support farmers and their communities as they mobilize and envision their futures, provide training so they can improve the quantity and quality of the goods they produce, and connections to market to increase sales and incomes.
Hispanic Federation/UNIDOS – https://hispanicfederation.org/ Hispanic Federation (HF) is the nation’s premier Latino nonprofit membership organization. Founded in 1990, HF seeks to support Hispanic families and strengthen Latino institutions through work in the areas of education, health, immigration, civic engagement, economic empowerment, & the environment.
Kitty Cottage – http://www.kittycottage.org/ A loving adoption center and shelter for homeless cats, Nonprofit, No-kill, & Cage-free. 317 W. Johnson Highway, East Norriton, Pa. 610-731-0101. Volunteers needed! Hours: Monday & Tuesday: Closed Wednesday – Friday: 11:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 AM-3:00 PM.
Laurel House – http://https://laurel-house.org/ The mission of Laurel House is to: Advocate for and empower those impacted by domestic violence by providing crisis intervention, safe haven, supportive programs and resources & Advance social change through preventative education and through community training and collaboration to foster a coordinated response to domestic abuse. Laurel House is a comprehensive domestic violence agency serving individuals, families and communities throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Learning for Justice – https://www.learningforjustice.org/ Formerly known as Teaching Tolerance. Working with educators, schools, students & communities, Learning for Justice seeks to uphold the mission of the Southern Poverty Law Center: to be a catalyst for racial justice in the South & beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements & advance the human rights of all people. We provide free resources to educators who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use our materials to supplement the curriculum, inform their practices, & create inclusive school communities where children & youth are respected, valued & welcome participants.
Logan’s Heroes – http://http://lharinc.org/ Our mission is to rescue homeless, neglected and abused animals and place them into life-long homes while placing an emphasis on the human-animal relationship and its ability to help heal those that need it most. We have created programs and partnered with other organizations to promote this benefit and place an emphasis on supporting Veterans.
Malala Fund – www.malala.org Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai founded Malala Fund in 2013 to champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead. With more than 130 million girls out of school today, we’re breaking down barriers that hold girls back. We invest in local educators and advocates — the people who best understand girls in their communities — in regions where the most girls are missing out on secondary school. We advocate — at local, national and international levels — for resources and policy changes needed to give all girls a secondary education. We amplify girls’ voices and share their stories through Assembly, our digital publication and newsletter.
Manna On Main Street – https://mannaonmain.org/ Manna on Main Street is committed to ending hunger in the North Penn region by providing food, fulfilling social service and education needs, and conducting community outreach. Through a food pantry and soup kitchen, emergency financial aid, counseling and referrals, and education opportunities, Manna serves those in need with the hope “that everyone might be fed.” 606 E. Main Street, Lansdale. (215) 855-5454
North Penn Valley Boys and Girls Club – click on ‘Great Futures Start Here’ below for their website:
We serve nearly 4,000 children and teens between the ages of 6 & 18 each year at two facilities: The North Penn Valley Club in Lansdale, and the Indian Valley Club in Souderton. We promise a safe, welcoming, supportive, & positive environment open to all children and teens. We offer nearly 50 different recreational activities each year, including soccer, baseball & flag football leagues, photography & art classes, and character-building programs such as Smart Girls & Passport to Manhood. Our key academic program is Project Learn, an after school homework assistance program. Our Summer Camp hosts hundreds of children each week from June through August for organized sports, arts, crafts, and theme days. Children & teens can come to the Club after school each weekday to enjoy free time & socialize with friends. Programs are led by trained Youth Development Professionals; our environment is safe & supervised. www.npvclub.org/
The Seeing Eye – http://www.seeingeye.org/ The Seeing Eye’s mission is to enhance the independence, dignity and self-confidence of people who are blind, through the use of specially trained Seeing Eye® dogs. In pursuit of this mission, The Seeing Eye breeds and raises puppies to become Seeing Eye dogs, trains Seeing Eye dogs to guide blind people, instructs blind people in the proper use, handling, and care of the dogs and conducts and supports research on canine health and development.
UrbanPromise – www.urbanpromiseusa.org The mission at UrbanPromise is to equip Camden’s children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and Christian leadership. They strive to fulfill this mission through after-school programs, summer camps, two schools, experiential learning, job training, & a host of other programs that challenge youth to develop & realize their potential. PO Box 1479, Camden, NJ 08105 (856) 661-1700
Wissahickon Trails – https://wissahickontrails.org/ A non-profit land trust founded in 1957 to protect the quality and beauty of the Wissahickon Creek & Watershed. We inspire and engage diverse communities of people to protect, steward, and enjoy the land and waterways of the Wissahickon Valley. 12 Morris Rd, Ambler, PA 19002 (215) 646-8866
HISTORY AND INFORMATION
Note: The in-house times and locations below are from ‘normal’ times and do NOT apply to our 2020 & 2021 virtual Alternative Gift Market. We hope that we can return to an in-house event in 2022!
History – 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. You may hear or see our name abbreviated as the “AGM”.
In 2020, we introduced a special Facebook page dedicated to the St. John’s Alternative Gift Market. Here you will find a mission statement for each organization, and links to their Facebook pages and websites. Anyone who has registered on Facebook and has a Facebook login can access this page: Click the link below:
How Does It Work – 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!
Thanks also for helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand fight childhood cancer for those who bought lemonade & made a donation during previous Alternative Gift Markets at our Alex’s Lemonade stand! You may in the meantime support them through their website: https://www.alexslemonade.org/
A reminder we accept cash or checks only, no credit cards. 100% of the funds you donate go directly to the charities you choose! (You may make an extra donation to help defray our mailing & printing costs but that is voluntary.)
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!
The Alternative Gift Market begins at 11:30 am so you can come downstairs and shop right after our 10:15 am service. Hoagies and beverages are available for a donation, including ‘Alex’s Lemonade Stand’, raising money for that organization.
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 or a member of the committee to get connected!
Most Recent In-Person Event – Our 16th annual Alternative Gift Market took place in St. John’s Assembly Hall on Sunday, November 17, 2019. In 2019, we raised $8,662 for the 19 charity organizations that we support. Including the hoagie sale & Alex’s Lemonade, over $9,064 was raised. The top 5: Doctors Without Borders $1,225; The Malala Fund $680, Alpha Bravo Canine $610, Manna on Main Street $565, Hispanic Federation $490.
Due to COVID-19, our 2020 Alternative Gift market was a virtual online event from November 15 to 30, 2020. There was no in-person event in our Assembly Hall. While you couldn’t visit with the organizations we support in person, you could access their websites here. Despite not holding a live event, nearly $7,000 was collected for the organizations that we support in 2020!
Questions & Answers About The 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 purchasing a gift, you are 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 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!