The Story of the Shop Once, Give Twice Christmas Marketplace

Are you in the mood for Christmas shopping? Instead of heading to the mall with the crowds

this weekend, you could enjoy shopping at 31:20’s Christmas Marketplace next weekend. Every purchase helps provide an opportunity for financial self-sufficiency for impoverished women, children and families around the world. This year we will have around 25 vendors selling high quality products that are handmade by artisans. The sale is a large, three day event that is one of the highlights of our year. But not too long ago it was just an idea that was being tossed around over coffee at Barnes and Noble.

A few years ago two of our board members had been introduced to the idea of selling handmade products in order to help support marginalized women. One of the 31:20 ladies had sold Ugandan beaded necklaces for an adoption fundraiser, she was able to keep a portion of the money and then send the rest back to the artisans. The other 31:20 lady had just been on a mission trip where she saw handmade tea towels in Juarez, Mexico. The money the Mexican women made selling the towels was enabling them to care for themselves and their families.

God was stirring up something in my friends’ hearts….and as the two ladies met for coffee that day they began to plan. They started to brainstorm about how they could create an environment in which they could sell handmade products. Not wanting to merely sell a few necklaces and tea towels to their friends, they began to search for other organizations who were selling items by the same method and for the same purpose. By Christmastime they had located a handful of organizations and decided to sell their products in one of their houses. They invited everyone they knew and prayed that those who came to the sale would catch the vision of shopping once for Christmas gifts but in the process, giving twice. On the morning of the sale, the ladies shoved furniture out of way and set up tables to display the products to sell. They had about five different vendors. At the end of the sale they gathered all the money and were thrilled to discover it was double what they had been praying for. It was the beginning of the Shop Once Give Twice sale.

On December 5th, 6th and 7th we will have our next sale at Deer Creek Church in Littleton. A few years ago the sale outgrew any of our houses so now we hold it in a church. We start planning mid-summer and have multiple people contacting and communicating with organizations throughout the fall in order to stay on top of all the details. We strive to partner with organizations who:

-provide artisans the chance to support themselves financially

-disciple their artisans in the Christian faith

-are relationally invested in the local community

-are good financial stewards of their resources

In addition we hope to impact our community by providing high quality items for purchase, connecting people to organizations from which they can buy directly year round and helping people recognize that there is power behind the dollars they spend; that our spending choices have an impact.

So, skip the craziness of Black Friday shopping and come to the Shop Once Give Twice Christmas Marketplace where you can feel good about the money you spend!

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