The Story of Reusable Gift Bags: Quadruple Blessings!
One small idea– to make reusable gift bags – has become an amazing endeavor that keeps many women at First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater busy all year, shopping for thrift store fabric bargains, collecting cords and ribbon, cutting, sewing, stringing, and marking bags for sale at the annual Alternative Gift Market, held the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. And these many volunteers are delighted to be able to donate all proceeds from Bag sales to East Metro Place.
When the idea was presented about 12 years ago, only a small number of bags were offered for sale, bringing in about $60 which was donated to East Metro Place at the suggestion of a church member. A small stack of material was put on a table in the narthex, with few instructions given except to make cloth bags. Wheels started turning in the minds of the seamstresses of the church, and we were off! Each year the bag supply has grown, expanding from Christmas theme bags only to a festive array of patterns, sizes and styles, including kids’ and children’s birthday bags, baby gift bags, Valentine, Easter and other holiday theme bags, masculine bags, ultra feminine bags, and even bags for your favorite pet! Most of the bags are now made with a double drawstring, and complimentary gift cards are provided with each bag purchased. Satchel style bags are also available, which can be used for grocery shopping and as a general carryall.
In 2010, First Presbyterian was able give a gift of $1,332 to East Metro Place. All time and materials are cheerfully donated, and the product we create saves our earth’s resources as well as being functional and attractive. Customers at the Alternative Gift Market keep coming back each year to buy our bags because they have discovered the convenience and efficiency of reusable wrapping. A gift presented in a gift bag is a quadruple blessing: the gift itself, the hand crafted reusable bag, the “green” effect of saving the earth by eliminating paper waste, and the monetary donation to East Metro that the bag represents. Hooray for Gift Bags!