The Store Manager for Ten Thousand Villages in Steinbach is hoping they can top last year's total through their Christmas giving campaign.
Mennonite Central Committee has a program where you can make a donation on behalf of a loved one towards a project in a developing country. MCC has 25 programs and five of these are available through Ten Thousand Villages.
Laurie Koop is Manager for the Steinbach store. She says $10 will purchase fruit tress in northern Bangladesh. For $18, you can sponsor a soccer program in Colombia, for $25 you can sponsor an irrigation project for crops in India, for $60 you can purchase one goat for a family in rural Haiti and for $85 you can sponsor a food package.
The program started November 1st and runs until December 23rd. Koop says they would like to raise $20,000 through the Steinbach store towards this program.
In 2017, this same program raised $18,250 in Steinbach. Back then there were 35 Ten Thousand Villages stores across Canada. Koop says even though per capita they are a very tiny store, they raised 18 per cent of the total for all Ten Thousand Villages stores in the country.
Koop says based on last year, it seems this giving opportunity is especially popular among two demographics.
"I was very surprised and shocked and inspired by two particular groups of people that came into the store," she says. "Both of them touched my heart."
She says one demographic was the senior men who came into the store to buy these gifts for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The other group was millennials.
"That was actually quite the sight to see and actually brought tears to my eyes when these young people ages basically eighteen to thirty are coming in to do this instead of purchasing something else," recalls Koop.
Koop says she remembers one gentleman last year who saw the story on Steinbachonline.com and visited the store to purchase these gifts for his grandchildren. Koop says he was aware that the store was hoping to reach $20,000 in sales and came in every four days to buy more of these gifts and to see how close the store was to reaching its goal.
"Unbelievable," she says. "I knew every four days I'd be expecting to see him."