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Church’s International Jubilee Marketplace expands to include 30 fair-trade vendors

Since starting 23 years ago with only one vendor, First Presbyterian Church’s annual Jubilee International Marketplace, a fair trade sale, has grown to 30 vendors.

The vendors range from local ministries like Christ Kitchen and Transitions for Women, to international organizations such as Ten Thousand Villages and Maya Earth Coffee.

More than 2,000 people attend the sale each year purchasing between $60,000 and $65,000 worth of products. Because the sale is a ministry of the church, all that money goes to those organizations and fair trade businesses.

The products at the sale are fairly traded. The majority of them come from artisans in developing countries, who lack outlets to sell their work. 

Some products come from ministries in Spokane that provide employment.  People can give donations in someone’s name, for the person who has everything.

The sale has become a way for many in the congregation to be involved in fair trade. Putting on the sale requires 100 volunteers, ranging in age from five to 95.

“We hope the sale will be a catalyst for people to think differently about their shopping decisions,” said Mary Frankhauser, one of the key people who helped to start the sale.

She sees the sale as more than a simple craft sale.

“I don’t do craft sales, but I do promote fair trade and economic justice,” she said.  “The Bible is full of references to economic justice. We can’t ignore that.”

This year, First Presbyterian  Church is offering a three-week Sunday morning class around the Jubilee sale, which is titled “Everything Counts.”

The class will center on the idea that “everything we do in life affects other people” and how that relates to fair trade.

The first two classes will be before the Jubilee sale and will feature different vendors sharing about why they are involved in fair trade.

The last class will be after the sale and will help people think, “Now that we have had this experience, what is our next step,” she said.

“Throughout the year the rest of our decisions are equally as important as they are on that weekend,” Mary said.

The “Everything Counts” class began at 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 30.  It is also on Nov. 6 and 13 at First Presbyterian Church.

For information call 747-1058, email maryfrankhauser@gmail.com or visit www.spokanefpc.org