Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Shop for Cause to benefit communities around the world

Supporting economic opportunities for women, families and communities around the world is the focus of the third annual “Shop for a Cause” Holiday Gift Market Oct. 29–30 at University Park United Methodist Church, 2180 S. University Blvd.

In addition to creating a socially conscious shopping alternative for the community, organizer Claudia Giannetti (MA geography ’92) hopes to create awareness of the importance of sustainable living.

“Many Shop for a Cause vendors support opportunities for women and communities, such as providing access to skills and training that can make a significant difference in the lives of people who are barely surviving,” Giannetti says. She notes that through making and selling products, there is a chance to create an income stream to provide families and communities with a sustainable living to help break the cycle of poverty.

Giannetti says the idea for the market started with a small group of coworkers in DU’s International House, which houses Study Abroad, the Office of Internationalization, International Student and Scholar Services and the English Language Center. Armed with a similar passion for raising awareness about socially conscious shopping, they founded Shop for a Cause. 

Three years later, the event has grown and is providing more vendors and more products.  The organizing committee also has grown, with representatives from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Morgridge College of Education and the Graduate School of Social Work joining the cause. The committee relies heavily on volunteers from the DU community to help run the event.

Twenty six vendors will offer an array of products including belts, bags, baskets, hats, clothing, scarves, home décor and gourmet foods, according to Melissa Schaap, vendor relations coordinator for the event.

Vendors include Global Mamas, a nonprofit fair-trade group that sells apparel, accessories, jewelry, ornaments and skin care products and works to assist women in Ghana, Africa; and the Women’s Bean Project, which helps women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment by teaching job readiness and life skills by employing women in the organization’s gourmet food production and handmade jewelry manufacturing businesses.

The 1010 Project — founded by Andrew (Paquin) Syed (MA international development ’05) and headed by graduate student Brian Rants — partners with communities in Kenya to end poverty.  The organization will sell beaded baskets made by Kenyan women.

“You can give gifts this holiday season knowing that your purchase has helped to support and empower women, families and communities in need, whether they are in downtown Denver or across the globe,” Schaap says.

“Our market provides a unique opportunity to shop for a wide selection of beautifully hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind products, and the purchase of these products can have a positive ripple effect on communities all over the world.”

Local radio station KLOVE will be at the event playing music both days. “Shop for a Cause” will be open from 4–7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, and from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 30.

Volunteers are still needed for the event. For more information or to volunteer, e-mail 

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