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SHERIDAN — A unofficial group of conscientious consumers is bringing a one-day shopping event to Sheridan to raise awareness about mindful spending and gift giving. “Give With Impact” is a one-day shopping event that will feature merchandise from six suppliers that champion their own respective social causes.
Emily Betzler is one of nine local organizers of the event, and she said Give with Impact will feature items forged via ethical labor in hopes of opening the minds of Sheridan buyers to an alternative market.
“The fact is we have a choice between a purse that was mass-produced in a sweat shop in China or one that was handmade by a woman who was bought from the sex trade and is being rehabilitated and given a new chance at life,” Betzler said. “They both exist. It’s so easy to choose the common one, but that’s not always the choice we want to make.”
Betzler said she picked the holiday season as a time to showcase humanitarian businesses by offering their products in Sheridan at no markup.
While Give With Impact is taking place just in time to kick off holiday gift shopping, Betzler hopes the idea of thoughtful spending continues beyond the season.
“Every time we purchase something, we vote on the world we want to live in, on what we value in terms of workers’ rights and social justice,” she said.
Betzler said some shoppers have a misconception that fair-trade goods are cost prohibitive or of lesser quality that industrially produced items. That, she said, is one of the perceptions she’s hoping to change.
“Oftentimes, it might be a little bit more expensive, but the impact and the good you get with the couple extra dollars you spend goes a long way,” she said. “I think if we slow down to think about it, that’s really where our heart would be.”
Suppliers featured at Give With Impact focus on both international and local human welfare issues. Companies to be featured are:
•31 Bits — Features jewelry bought at fair-trade prices and made by women in Uganda who also receive health, finance and business training.
• Creative Women of the World — A marketer for women in third-world countries who design their own jewelry. The organization also provides micro-loans for artisans to grow their businesses.
• African Soles — Features sandals made in Kenya. Each pair of shoes represents jobs, wages and an opportunity to exit poverty.
• Equal Exchange — One of the largest democratic worker cooperatives in the country, owned equally by all members with no controlling interest. The group’s structure is set up in a way that provides for employees and managers to have checks and balances in an effort to prevent exploitation of people or profits.
• Noonday — A vendor of artisan accessories that sponsors projects aimed to improve life in impoverished countries around the world. Noonday has also committed a portion of its proceeds to help financially facilitate Sheridan natives Jason and Sarah Otto, who are adopting a child from Ethiopia.
• Sak Sum — Vends items made by women and men rescued from sexual slavery around the world. The organization aims to provide vocational training for the former victims of trafficking to enable them to live self-sustaining, free lives.
Sheridan’s Give With Impact event will be Saturday from 2-6 p.m. at the Shall We Dance Ballroom, 20 South Tschirgi Street.
Other organizers working to pull together the event are Rebekah Forman, Ashley Cooper, Jeriann Jacobson, Sonja Luckow, Katie Medik, Angela Brugger, Jenny Craft and Shannon Whittle.