Members of Highland Presbyterian Church as well as the community turned out on Dec. 6 for a different kind of Christmas shopping experience.
Highland Presbyterian hosted the Alternative Christmas Market at the church after the Sunday worship service. The shopping event was from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The market had a dual purpose -- help complete participants Christmas shopping list while benefiting good causes from around the world.
There were also locally made crafts from Coalition for Appalachian Ministries, fair trade coffee, Christmas wreaths and greenery from the Boys and Girls Clubs, art donated by RaRa Schlitt and much more.
Shoppers enjoyed a soup lunch for a donation. Proceeds benefitted the participating ministries and the Heifer Project, a self-help program that provides animals, seeds and training to underprivileged people in the United States and around the world.
David Kemp with Highland Presbyterian said organizers were very pleased with the response from the congregation and also from the community. The fellowship hall was crowded until after its 2 p.m. end time, Kemp said.
Kemp said the church has been involved with the Heifer Project for a number of years, and it has become a primary ministry of the church.
With the help of this fund raiser, the church is nearing a goal of raising enough money to purchase their third Ark, which provides 15 pairs of animals, including cows, sheep, camels, oxen, water buffalo and 10 other pairs of animals that provide food, transportation and labor to poor families. As each pair of animals reproduces, their caretakers must pass on at least one of the offspring to another family in need, making the effect of each Heifer donation limitless, Kemp said.
“We are grateful to God for the blessings we’ve received as a result of this effort,” he said.
At the market, the Heifer project received money raised from the sale of craft items made and donated by members of Highland Presbyterian, the donations from the soup luncheon, and also from people just writing checks, Kemp said.
This is the third year for the event. Organizers have expanded it a little each year and plan to continue doing so into the future, he said.