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Alternative Black Friday event sells "gifts that give twice"

By Ashlie Rodriguez, Reporter
Published On: Nov 23 2012 06:40:15 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 17 2014 01:22:20 AM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

Black Friday sales aren't for everyone, which is why hundreds flocked to an alternative event. The Columban Mission Center in Downtown El Paso sold items from non-profit organizations that will send the proceeds to impoverished people in Third World countries.

"That is beautiful," said shopper Barbara Mendell. "That is gorgeous."

Barbara Mendell did no Black Friday shopping.

"None whatsoever," Mendell said. "This is it. Because I am not a Black Friday shopper."

Instead she went to the Columban Mission Center's alternative Black Friday event where she bought a hand-made skirt from Rags to Briches.

"We're employing four seamstresses that are mothers of special needs children," said Rags to Britches owner Rosario Escobedo. 

Escobedo is the designer and brainpower behind clothes and jewelry, created from recycled fabrics and hand-made by impoverished women in Anapra, Mexico. She'll give 100 percent of her profits to those women.

"They're just thrilled," Escobedo said. "Every time we tell them we sold something, they're over-joyed that they wouldn't have top work in a factory to support themselves. "

Rags to Briches is just one of the organizations selling alternative gifts. Organizer Sister Janet Gildea says this event provides two-way gifts, whereas big chain store products only feed consumerism.

"You impact the life of the person that made the gift and who really depends on it for their livelihood. So it helps and benefits in both directions," Gildea said.

Barbara Mendell agrees.

"I'm not wealthy but I can help and I benefit from what I bought too," Mendell said.   

Other organizations who sold include Centro Mujeres de las Esperanza, Catholic Relief Services, Pax Christi and Fair Trade. This event is in its fourth year and will be held next Black Friday as well. 

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