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Alternative holiday gift market expanded in Martinsburg

November 23, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An alternative gift market staged by a Martinsburg couple for three years has been expanded this holiday season to allow area "shoppers" to make donations to several local organizations in honor of loved ones.

"We're trying to promote alternative gift giving," said Andrew Townsend, who along with his wife, Michele Townsend Grove, act as area coordinators for Heifer International, an outreach organization aimed at ending world hunger through the donation of agricultural animals.

As part of this season's market - to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at Trinity United Methodist Church at 220 W. Martin St. - shoppers will still have the opportunity to give a monetary donation to Heifer International, but also to organizations like Hospice of the Eastern Panhandle, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Shalom Resource Center and The AIDS Network.

Proceeds from lunch served at the event will benefit Heifer International, a nonprofit organization founded more than 60 years ago and based in Little Rock, Ark.

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As part of the experience, shoppers will have the opportunity to learn about each of the organization's needs before deciding on donations, Townsend said. The donor will then choose a card or "tree hangar" that explains the gift given to the loved one.

Grove hopes the market brings about increased awareness of both community and global needs, as well as offers an alternative to the stress of traditional shopping.

"It's insane what people are putting themselves through (right now)," Grove said.

If you go ...



What: Alternative Gift Market

When: 10-2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Trinity United Methodist Church, 220 W. Martin St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

On the Web: www.heifer.org

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