St. Peter’s Episcopal puts twist on gift giving

Published 6:13 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas is a time of giving, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is encouraging members to give back to the community.

The Christmas Alternative Giving Program kicked off Nov. 5, and will continue through Dec. 17. Members can stop by the table after church services every Sunday through Dec. 17, to give a minimum $5 donation to a local nonprofit.

In exchange for the donation, the participant will then receive an “honor card” to present to a loved one for Christmas in lieu of a physical gift, stating that the card’s recipient had a donation given in his name.

Program organizer Gayle Nadel said the Alternative Giving Program is just what the name suggests — an alternative to the usual gift-giving routine, instead of buying an expensive gift someone doesn’t really need.

“I’m really excited about it,” Nadel said. “It’s just a good way to use our money at Christmas.”

St. Peter’s selected six nonprofits to support through Alternative Giving: Open Door Community Center, a soon-to-be shelter for homeless women; Habitat for Humanity; Metropolitan Community Health Services; Higher Heights Human Services, which supports teen moms and helps them complete school; Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children; and the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center.

Nadel said she was inspired to start the Alternative Giving Program last year after participating in a similar event at Starmount Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, where she attended for years.

Although the Starmount program was on a much larger scale, Nadel has seen the idea catch on at her new church in Washington. Last year’s inaugural event at St. Peter’s Episcopal raised about $3,000, she said.

“We just have one table, and we do it all ourselves,” Nadel said. “It’s progressing very well this year.”

This year, Nadel said she wants to start sharing the Alternative Giving Program with the community at large, not just church members. She plans to set up a table at First Christian Church’s Cookie Express to garner more support.

“It’s been very successful,” Nadel said. “I would love to open it up to the community.”

Those interested in participating in the Christmas Alternative Giving Program can stop by the church’s “coffee area” Sunday mornings through Dec. 17 after church services — from 9-10 a.m. or from 11 a.m. to noon. They may also call the church at 252-946-8151.