Project offers charitable alternative to gift-giving

Faith Communities for Sustainability offers a few ways for people to help those in need during the holidays.


Imagine a Christmas with no fruit cakes.

Imagine giving gifts designed to increase awareness of community need and decrease the holiday's impact on the environment.

Imagine gifting because you want to, not because you're expected to.

That's what the Faith Communities for Sustainability is hoping to invoke in promoting a second season of alternative gift giving. And the nonprofit organization has developed five ideas to help Walla Walla fill Santa's sack.

  • Give the gift of transportation -- ticket books for 20 one-way Valley Transit rides with no expiration date, $15. Tickets are available for purchase at Valley Transit, 1401 W. Rose St., 525-9140, the Valley Transit ticket kiosk on Fourth Avenue or at Helpline, 16 S. Colville St., 529-3377.
  • Start the kids off right -- biodegradable diapers, package of 35 from Seventh Generation, $19.15. Or contribute toward diapers at the YWCA, 213 S. First Ave., or Catholic Charities, 408 W. Poplar St.
  • Live lightly -- 10 compact fluorescent light bulbs, four sizes, $25.25. Bulbs can be found from a variety of stores; prices can vary. You can also make a contribution for bulbs through Blue Mountain Action Council, 342 Catherine St. which will get them to a needy family.
  • A place to grow your own -- fund a community garden plot for a low-income family, $40. Checks can be sent to to the Rees amp; Sumach Community Garden, P.O. Box 1222, Walla Walla, WA, 99362, for garden space for those in need. For more information go to or call 522-0399.
  • The gift of education -- scholarship for one quarter of GED or English as a second language classes at Walla Walla Community College, $25. Available through the Blue Mountain Action Council.

"Our alternative gift ideas project, begun last year, is aimed at helping people come up with gifts that use fewer resources and increase local resilience," noted member Dan Clark. "Getting people to consider alternatives is a process that takes time, and we're hoping that by continuing the project for a second year, more people will pick up these ideas and participate."

Certificates for donations made in another's name are available.

For more information call 522-0399 or e-mail

Sheila Hagar can be reached at or 526-8322. Check out her blog at


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