On Black Friday, many American’s spent the day scrambling at retail giants to get the best deal on a plasma television or laptop.
In Texas, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso turned the Columban Mission Center, located only a few blocks from the U.S./Mexican border, into an alternative to shopping at a large chain stores and an opportunity for consumers to support local nonprofits.
“Your gift gives twice here,” said Polly Edmunds who works with Border Partners, a nonprofit organization empowering people in the impoverished community of Palomas, Mexico.
Edmunds was selling waterproof bags, tablecloths, and aprons made from Mexican oilcloth sold by Palomas Oilcloth Designs. The items were designed and manufactured by Mexican women.
It’s easy to purchase goods and to not have any reflection on how that purchase impacts people and so I think this really draws attention to how your money can make a difference.
- Andrea Tirres
“They don’t have many options for selling their products in Mexico, so it’s really necessary that we sell them here in the United States,” said Edmunds.
Families in Palomas live off of less than $75 a week, reported Edmunds.
For the third year in a row, Alternative Black Friday allowed programs including Catholic Relief Services and Centro Mujeres de Esperanza, a social services program; to sell fair trade handcrafted items.
The money raised Friday went directly back to the programs.
“We promote this as an opportunity to not buy into the excessive consumerism of the holidays, but to really make a difference in someone’s life,” said organizer Sister Janet Gildea, director of young adult ministry for the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.
“There’s no middle man,” she added.
Gildea reported the programs benefiting from the program help projects promoting education, healthcare, and economic development in local communities.
“I think people come to buy (at) this sale because they’ve become more conscious of consumerism and if they are going to give gifts at Christmas, they really want to make them very conscious choices of who benefits,” said Gildea.
Andrea Tirres sold framed photos of statues from St. Pius X Catholic Church in El Paso, captured by local artist Martín Benecomo. The sales benefit people of Lomas del Poleo, Mexico, a small community outside of Juárez.
“It’s easy to purchase goods and to not have any reflection on how that purchase impacts people and so I think this really draws attention to how your money can make a difference,” said Tirres.
Tirres told Fox News Latino the community is being intimidated by armed guards to leave land they have occupied for decades. The money raised Friday will go to support the people’s need of food and drink, as well as attorney fees.
Shoppers said Alternative Black Friday isn’t their only community-shopping stop this holiday season, but many said they would avoid the big box stores in favor a smaller shops.
“I’m going to try and stay as local as I can,” said El Paso native Rosalva Rodríguez.
Patrick Manning is a Junior Reporter with Fox News.
Patrick Manning is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.