Annual Gift Market Aims to Put the Meaning Back Into Christmas

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JOHNSTON, Iowa  —  For the fourth year in a row, the St. Paul Presbyterian Church has hosted a unique holiday gift market.

“The goal of the gift market is to honor those who have enough by giving to those who have too little,” says Pastor Bill O’Connell.

The Alternative Gift Market is made up of nearly two dozen non-profit organizations. Patrons are encouraged to “shop” the market and make donations to the charities. The market features organizations like Hope Ministries, Count the Kicks, and ChildServe. Money raised will go towards helping fund programs and provide materials or clothing.

O’Connell says the market is rewarding not only for the gift receiver, but the giver, too.

“You feel so good when you come and you feel good when you give the gift, and then the person who receives it feels great also, so it’s a win win.”

Last year, the event raised $10,000. Organizers hope this year they can raise more than $15,000. The event ran only on Saturday, but donations can still be made here.