Shopping for Change benefits women, children
By Linda Braden Albert | (email@example.com)
When you bring 62 vendors and two worthwhile organizations together, a very merry Christmas is in store for them as well as for the many shoppers who will flock to the 2012 Shopping For Change Saturday at New Providence Presbyterian Church.
The annual event brings together a wide variety of vendors under one roof where shoppers can find practically anything their hearts desire — handcrafted jewelry, crocheted items, mosaic art, candles, locally produced honey, baskets and more, as well as products from such popular venues as Blessings Unlimited, Thirty-One Gifts, Premier Designs, Scentsy and Avon. Shopping for Change has an additional purpose, as well: a portion of the proceeds from vendor booth fees will benefit women and children who are assisted by Haven House and New Hope — Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center. Haven House’s mission is to save and change lives in Blount, Monroe and the surrounding counties through the intervention and prevention of domestic violence by offering 24-hour shelter and crisis hotline, support services, at-risk youth programs and community awareness. New Hope — Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center is an accredited child-friendly, safe place for child victims of sexual and physical abuse.
Loren Abbott, of Abbott House Mosaic Art, is organizing Shopping for Change. She said food supplied by Haven House will be sold, and all funds raised from these sales will go directly to Haven House. A silent auction and activities for children will also be available, including a visit from Santa Claus.
“Most shows don’t have activities for kids,” Abbott said. “We try to make this as user-friendly as possible.”
Three participating vendors — Diana and Alan Lyle, of ADL Photography Presents PhotoGems, Michelle O’Neil with Blessings Unlimited, and Delorean, Abby and Hailey Rapien, of Sweet Bees of Honeyland Farm — offered a sneak peek at their products as representative samples of what will be available at Shopping for Change.
Diana Lyle said, “We’ve done photography for about 30 years, and we wanted a different and unique way to present our photographs.” The Lyles create jewelry — rings, pendants and earrings — using their photographs mounted under optical quality glass. Settings are available in bronze, gun metal or silver-plated finishes. The cost of most is $10, $12 and $15, or gift sets, including pendant and earrings, are $20. For more information, visit http://www.adlphotography.com .
Michelle O’Neil is a Blessings Unlimited representative. She said, “All of our products are faith based. They have scripture, and we have everything from home decor to stationery, children’s products, jewelry, bags. It was founded in 2006, and it’s from DaySpring Cards.” More information may be found at http://www.myblessingsunlimited.net .
Sweet Bees of Honeyland Farm will have locally grown honey for sale at Shopping for Change. Sisters Delorean Rapien, 14, Abby Rapien, 12, and Hailey Rapien, 10, became interested in beekeeping after meeting Maryville beekeeper Howard Kerr. The sisters work together to harvest the honey from their two colonies, much as the bees in a hive work together to produce it, Kerr said. The honey sells for $12 for a quart, $7 for a pint and $5 for a honey bear container. The money the girls earn is saved for their college fund.
Valerie Day, executive director of Haven House, said Shopping for Change has been very beneficial to the organization, which is now in its 30th year.
“It brings awareness to the issues of domestic violence that we have here in Blount County,” Day said. “One in three families will experience some sort of family violence, and when we do an event such as this, we have 500 to 600 people that come through the door.”
For every dollar raised for Haven House, about 86 cents goes to direct services for families, Day said. “We have very little overhead. The national average on any kind of nonprofit is usually 25 to 30 percent, so when we can say ours is 14 percent or sometimes less, that says a couple of things — one, we are being good stewards with the money we receive, but also for the people in Blount County, they know when they donate money to Haven House, it is going directly to those that are least served. Domestic violence victims are one of the least served populations because of the very nature of the circumstances they are in.”
Day encourages the public to attend Shopping for Change. “Not only are they getting a great opportunity to shop, they are also going to learn about some of the effects domestic violence has on our community and how they can help,” she said.