Marion?s Alternative Market gathers $7,000 for charities

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More than $7,000 was donated to local and worldwide charities during the second annual Alternative Market Saturday at Marion Presbyterian Church.

Jackie Volbrecht, one of the organizers, said Alternative Gifts International, which represents charities worldwide, received $4,088, local charities, $2,564 and the food bank, $380. The overall total for the event came to $7,072.

In its first year, Volbrecht said, AGI received $3,245 and local charities, $1,091 for a total of $4,336.

?Our attendance almost doubled (from last year), too? she said.

At the 2011 market 110 people contributed to the local and worldwide causes. This year the number was about 225.

?I cannot thank the exhibitors enough for participating in the 2012 Alternative Gift Market,? Volbrecht said.

Something new this year was having more exhibitors and from unique places.

?The Marion High School Honor Society, Marion City Library, Stepping Stones Preschool and Critter Connection were here,? she said.

Personal choices

Naomi Morris of Hillsboro said she was donating to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Marion County.

?I lost my daughter at 39 (years old) to a rare disease,? Morris said. ?Ten days later (after being diagnosed) she was gone.?

Not surprisingly, Morris? granddaughter-in-law, Ashley Gann, chose BBBS as her charity.

?Ashley is married to my grandson, Chase,? she said.

Morris said one of her three granddaughters had a big sister.

?It?s a good program,? she said about BBBS.

Another exhibitor, Debbi Barrow, chose ?Midwives for Peace? as her charity.

Barrow explained how Palestinian women were detained and forced to give birth at military checkpoints resulting in the deaths of both women and infants.

Money toward this charity, she said, will train midwives so that babies can be delivered safely, despite the conflict around them.

Barrow also talked about the healthcare clinic for mothers and babies in Haiti.

?Nutritious peanut-based food is given to children and the peanuts are grown in Haiti,? she said.

With starvation rampant in Haiti, this project helps malnourished children and mothers.

Girl Scouts active

Sixteen Marion Girl Scout Daisies, grades kindergarten and first, made little chalkboards and books as keepsakes for their charitable project??Unleashing the Potential of Boys and Girls in Kenya.?

Bailey Clairmont, one of the Daisies, said the project ?helps these little kids stay in school.?

Another Daisy, Alyera Koehn, said they had fun making the ornaments.

?We made 50 (ornaments) for each tree,? she said.

In addition to the Daisies, Girl Scout Brownies chose two projects to include ?Building Homes for Haitian Families? and ?Scholarships for Students in Haiti.?

Jennifer Stegman, Brownie leader, said the girls chose these projects because someone exposed them to Haiti experiences, she said.

When asked how many people live in Haiti, one of the Brownies said about nine million people.

?Haiti is in huge trauma,? Stegman said.

The Brownies learned about Haiti and completed their ornaments during a lock-in Oct. 26-27 at Eastmoor Church.

?It was fifth grade and second graders that were there and they all spent the day learning about Haiti,? she said.

Probably their favorite thing was reading, ?Tap, Tap,? one of the Brownies said.

?Tap Taps,? she said, ?are able to carry tons and tons of people and animals in a bus.?

The Brownies also collected loose change to help the Haitians after 20 inches of rain fell as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

?One nickel,? Stegman said, ?will pay for a note pad, pencil and school book for these kids.?

Almost 60 children will be helped from the money they accumulated after more than four hours at the market.

Anyone interested in contributing a nickel or more to help students in Haiti, can send donations to: Jennifer Stegman, 909 Melvin, Marion, KS 66861.

Family projects

Three Girl Scout family projects were included in the market, too.

Stegman?s family chose ?Protecting Rainforests for Indigenous People.?

For a donation of $110, the contributor is protecting 100 acres of rainforest for one year and for $12 someone is protecting one acre for a year.

Stegman?s family also chose ?Feeding the Hungry and Homeless in the U.S. and Canada.?

For a $45 donation, she said, a family of five can be fed for one week. A $5 donation is enough groceries to feed one person for one day.

Julie Starks, co-leader of Girl Scout Daisies, and her family, chose ?Trees Give Hope to the Rural Poor? globally.

Starks said that for $18 these poor farmers can plant an orchard of 10 fruit trees for a family.

?Two dollars buys a single fruit tree and provides tools, education, seedlings and nursery maintenance,? she said.

Running out of room

Volbrecht said the market was so busy Saturday that she had to reprint shopping forms.

?We have run out of space,? she said, referring to the Girl Scouts being separated from the rest of the exhibitors.

?Next year we have booked the Marion Community Center for Nov. 9,? she said.

We also had more people and another Girl Scout troop that joined us.

For Debbie Buchholz, who volunteered as a cashier and also donating to several of the charities said the market is an exceptional event.

?The market is awesome and a wonderful way to help a lot of different charities, whether local or worldwide,? she said.

Jessica Buchholz, also of Marion, said she contributed to a lot of charities, but added it was hard to choose.

Jessica Ensley and Andrea Nordquist were market shoppers last year and this year chose a project to exhibit.

Ensley said they chose African orphanages where orphans are fatherless.

Mary Smithhart said she was helping with the Marion City Library?s exhibit: ?Books for the Joy of Reading.?

For $30, five books can be purchased for a school or library, she said. For $6, one book can be bought for a school or library.

?We have a nice library and this is a great idea for charities,? she said.

Amy McVey was one of many participants looking at exhibits and reading about the variety of charities.

Her mother, Sandra West, chose ?Access to Education for Women and Children? as her project.

?Donations go to help buy glasses and eye exams for women and girls in Mexico,? West said.

Christmas ornaments for the project included crystal trees, angels, pins and other items, she said.

?Phyllis Kreutziger made the ornaments,? she said.

Volbrecht thanked everyone for their participation this year adding that she hoped it was a positive and uplifting experience to raise more than $7,000 for charities around the world and at home.

?God truly blessed the work of our hearts and hands,? she said.

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