Global Gifts started in 1988 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wanting to expand the availability to help, a Bloomington store opened up in 2009 on N. Walnut St. To provide a way out of poverty for undeveloped nations, fair trade stores such as Global Gifts are non profit.
Ringing up a customer, Jean Tarquinio checks off a coupon card. While only being in Bloomington two months, she has volunteered for Global Gifts for a month and a half. "It kind of draws you in," Tarquinio remarks.
A simple bracelet presses such a statement onto any costumer that reads it. The artisans who hand make these crafts do so to support themselves and their families, trying to keep kids in school instead of jobs. "Often they're the first kids to go to school in the family," worker Gracie explains.
Looking to a brighter future, this elephant sketchbook is made from recycled paper in Sri Lanka. Attached to the beautiful book a separate note explains that the products were made with a mixture of elephant waste, boiled and sanitized, and post consumer paper. "They were pulped to perfection by the elephants of Sri Lanka," creator Mr. Ellie Pooh details.
Surrounding the top of the store are all of the countries' names that Global Gifts helps. Within 34 different countries, more than 10,000 villages gained money and support from fair trade. "It's kind of that mentality when you come into a place like this," Tarquinio comments, "everyone knows they're helping."
Customers never seem to leave the store alone. From beginning to end, at least one person shops through the rows of commodities. "It makes me feel good that i'm helping them," expressed a costumer.
Every tag tells where the product came from, and each dollar made goes to that specific country. These pine wood crayons are a kid favorite and help rebuild houses from natural disasters in Ecuador. "A few years ago, Napal suffered from some sort of natural disaster and the money raised rebuilt the businesses," Gracie tells.
Handwoven baskets from Bangladesh line the store. The beautiful baskets are a popular item at the store, handy and easily stored. When asked why she chose to volunteer at Global Goods, Tarquinio explains she believes the in cause and that "everything in here is so beautiful, I wanted to be surrounded by it all."
Photos, website, and story by Lydia Allerellie