Alternative Gift Fair in Pasco enters its fourth year

This Saturday marks the fourth annual Alternative Gift Fair at Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasco.

The fair benefits local, national and international charities, giving shoppers the chance to meet representatives of and make donations to organizations with established track records of helping people, pets and the environment.

The event is from noon to 4 p.m.at the church, 2819 W. Sylvester St., Pasco.

The first Alternative Gift Fair three years ago raised more than $10,000 in four hours, and by last year the fair doubled its fundraising to more than $20,000.

The event really has resonated with people, said Diane Reed, publicity coordinator for the fair, "because people are tired of buying more and more stuff and not feeling happier.

"You have gifts you want to give to people, but you don't know what they want and here you can give a gift that does good in the community that means something."

Visitors will be able to make donations in honor of family and friends. Gifts range from $5 and up. Parents are encouraged to bring their children and involve them in selecting gifts for others. Order forms will be available at communityuu.org for those who cannot attend. All orders must be received by Dec. 11.

Those who make donations on behalf of friends, colleagues, and relatives may choose to commemorate their gift with gift cards which will be hand lettered and personalized with a description of each gift made in their name by local calligraphers. The cards feature works by local artists including Laura Gable, Michael Rastovich and Chris Walling.

Just a few of the many gifts that can be given this year include native plants for restoration work (Tapteal Greenway Association and Friends of Badger Mountain), support for the Burrowing Owl project of Lower Columbia Basin Audubon, safe shelter for a teen in need from My Friend's Place, a flock of ducks from Heifer International, emergency food for a shelter client from Domestic Violence Services, and spay and neuter services provided through Pet Over Population Prevention.

This year's participants include: Doctors without Borders, Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties, Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Friends of Badger Mountain, Heifer International, Lower Columbia Audubon Society, Mid-Columbia Reading Foundation, My Friend's Place, Pathways Education Program, Pet Over Population Prevention, Planned Parenthood of Central Washington, Tapteal Greenway Association, Tri-City Dog Parks, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and Vista Youth Center. All gifts are all tax deductible.

For more information on the organizations participating and for directions to the church, go to communityuu.org.