Just in time for the start of holiday shopping, Urban Grace Church in downtown Tacoma is partnering with Trinity Presbyterian Church to hold its first-ever fair trade craft sale Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Featuring a wide assortment of handmade gifts, home and holiday decor, musical instruments, jewelry and personal accessories, the sale will help skilled artisans in more than 36 countries receive a fair price for their products. The sale will also be a benefit for shoppers who will find all kinds of unique and special gifts.
"During the holidays especially, it's good to keep in mind what we're buying and why," said Jennifer Dean, executive administrator at Urban Grace and the driving force behind the sale she hopes becomes an annual event. She said that helping communities around the world in their development of products helps ensure safe, healthy work environments, no child labor, and a definite sense of healing for these often-struggling people.
"As people receive fair wages and families get taken care of, it funnels down to the whole community," Dean said. "The beauty of fair trade is that you get to do great things for people and get cool products you wouldn't find anywhere else."
She added that the same concept applies in Tacoma as well, urging local people to shop at local businesses to support local families.
The sale will showcase products under the auspices of four fair trade vendors:
• Ten Thousand Villages has supported the work of tens of thousands of artisans in more than 37 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East since 1947, making it one of the world's oldest and largest fair trade organizations. With more than 155 retail outlets across the country, including Seattle and Portland, consumers can shop there or online at www.tenthousandvillages.com.
• Jubilee Traders specializes in table linens including napkins, runners and tablecloths, handbags and jewelry through partnerships with artisans in India and Nepal. Each product represents an artisan who is using their skills to support their families, educate their children, and build toward a future of dignity and hope. Read more at www.jubileetraders.com.
• SERRV is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating poverty wherever it resides. For 60 years the organization has worked on behalf of artisans and farmers. Encompassing more than just buying and selling, SERRV offers prepayments for goods so its partners can sustain their business, teaches new skills so artisans can develop their craft, and provides grants to help these workers expand their resources. Visit their website at www.serrv.org.
• Blue Note Coffee is a Tacoma-based endeavor offering fresh coffee beans from several South America locations shipped to customers monthly through a subscription service. All profits from sales help fund the initiatives of Center for Transforming Mission (CTM), a grassroots leadership training organization that serves high-risk youth and families at the margins of society. According to its website: "The 'blue note' is the bittersweet note of grace invented by jazz and blues artists to give voice to pain. This is the mission of Blue Note Coffee - to give voice to the people that have been labeled the least, last and lost in hard places around the world." Learn more at www.mudstore.com.
During the sale, visitors will have a chance to sample Blue Note Coffee and fair-traded chocolate at a free tasting at 2 p.m. In the meantime, there will be plenty of hand loomed textiles, pottery, chocolates, baskets, toys and one-of-a-kind Christmas decorations including garlands and ornaments to buy at very reasonable prices.
Urban Grace is located at 902 Market St. For more information, visit www.urbangracetacoma.org or call (253) 272-2184.