Sale offers unique gifts, helps less fortunate

By Jen Bland

Temperatures are dropping and Christmas is approaching. It’s time for students to start thinking about buying Christmas presents.

Instead of hitching a ride to Wal-Mart and buying mom a toaster oven, dad a new fishing pole and sis a CD, why not be original?

NIU students have the opportunity not only to buy unique holiday gifts, but also to help people less fortunate than themselves.

The Baptist Campus Ministry, 449 Normal Road, is having an International Gift Sale now through Dec. 24.

Monday through Friday, the hours of the sale are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with additional times Tuesday through Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The sale will also be held on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Campus Minister Ruth Peterson has been organizing the event for about 18 years.

“The sale’s grown from a shelf at my home to two-and-one-half rooms of this church,” Peterson said.

When students browse through these two-and-one-half rooms, they can purchase almost anything from ornaments to wood carvings, she said.

The items have been flown-in from various countries in South America, Africa and Asia. The items were made by refugees, people with disabilities and “the poorest of the poor” of these countries, Peterson said.

Peterson said the relief and development agencies, which bring these products to campus, subtract only enough money for shipping and give the rest to the artisans.

“I work with these relief and development agencies to be sure no one is exploited,” she said. “I know I can trust them.”

Peterson said prices are modest. Prices range from 95 cents for some jewelry and $50 for wall hangings. The sale is usually busy until its end, she added.