Frequently Asked Questions for Shoppers
Below are answers to some questions folks may have about Gift Hope MGM. If you have a question that is not answered here, please let us know through our main page and we will try to provide an answer. Please also check back from time to time. The information in this section is subject to change as we navigate the planning process.
What is Gift Hope MGM, who is sponsoring it, and why is it being held?
It is an annual Christmas-time event to raise funds for up to three dozen River Region nonprofit community service organizations. It is meant to provide a convenient one-stop shopping opportunity for benefactors to purchase specified services in the name of individuals whom they wish to honor with a non-conventional gift. Rather than buying a new necktie or scarf for friends, family members, or work place colleagues, the “shopper” underwrites specific needs of designated nonprofit(s) – for example, a week’s worth of hot meals for an elderly couple in need, medical supplies, or one night’s shelter for a homeless family. (Gifts will be available at a variety of prices, starting at $5.) In a very real sense, the gift you give will be a gift of hope.
The gift purchaser will be able to present the gift recipient a card announcing the gift/gifts made in the recipient’s name and the name/names and services of the designated nonprofits. The generosity of shoppers (benefactors) thus provides alternative gifting opportunities in honor of gift recipients, as well as funding for worthy organizations.
Gift Hope MGM is being sponsored by the Work Area on Church & Society of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery, Alabama. The goal is to foster an alternative tradition that stands in contrast to the materialism that so often dominates our Christmas and holiday giving.
When is the Fair, and where will it be held?
The 2019 Gift Fair will be held on Saturday, December 7, from 9 a.m. until noon in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church, Cloverdale Park. (South end of the church campus; click here for a campus map) Online shopping will be available from December 8–15.
What nonprofit groups will be participating in this year’s Gift Fair?
Approximately three dozen nonprofits from around the River Region will participate. The groups’ missions are diverse and include feeding the hungry; improving housing; assisting homeless and other persons to achieve stability; supporting families and children in need; teaching literacy, leadership, and life skills to adults and youth; protecting the natural world; and caring for those with health or other therapeutic needs.
What is an ‘alternative’ gift? If I want to give one to my family, friends, teachers, clients, etc., what will it look like?
An alternative gift is a contribution that funds a specific need in our community, as opposed to an item that the gift recipient may not want or need. Be on the lookout for a list of alternative gifts that will be offered at Gift Hope MGM this year. For every alternative gift you “buy,” you will receive an attractively designed card (with envelope). The card says “A gift has been given in honor of _______ to the organization _______ to provide _____________ / Given by _______.” Gift prices start at $5 and reach $50 or $100 (varying by group).
How will shoppers buy ‘gifts’ at the Fair?
Each participating group will offer variously priced “gifts” that fund a specific need of the organization and the people it serves. In 2018, alternative gifts were available for purchase only online. This year, however, the process will work as follows: Upon entering the Fair, shoppers will receive an order form listing the available gifts, along with the gift prices. Shoppers will then have the opportunity to speak with nonprofit representatives to learn more. After visiting with these representatives, shoppers will decide which gifts they’d like to purchase, then take their completed form to a central checkout station. Volunteers at the checkout station will total the amounts, collect the money that is due (in cash or by check or credit/debit card), and provide an appropriate number of cards and envelopes. Shoppers at their convenience will fill out and deliver or mail the gift cards on their own.
May we buy alternative gifts online?
Yes! Online shopping will be possible December 8th through 15th if you are unable to attend the Gift Fair on Dec 7th. Click on shopping menus.
What portion of my contribution will go to the nonprofit my gift is intended to support?
100%. The Church & Society Work Area of First United Methodist Church is underwriting the entire administrative costs of the Gift Fair as a community service and as an expression of faith. We have asked participating groups to use the contributions they receive for their advertised purposes, but we cannot guarantee this.
Are my contributions through the Gift Fair tax deductible?
Yes, for tax purposes, the total amount of your Gift Fair “purchase” is to be treated as a contribution to First United Methodist Church (even though the Church will be forwarding the funds to the appropriate organizations).
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