by Kara Hansen
LEAWOOD — Wouldn’t you love to help someone less fortunate than you — by buying something new for yourself?
Well, that’s exactly the opportunity the Gift Gallery at Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood will be offering shoppers this Nov. 13. The event comes just in time for holiday shopping, but also at an ideal time of year to benefit several important causes.
“This one-of-a-kind shopping event allows each shopper to donate 20 percent of every dollar they spend,” said Gina Foster, a member of Curé of Ars and Gift Gallery co-chair. “They are having a direct impact in the lives of countless children in our community.”
The Gift Gallery is organized by women in the Mothers of Young Children (MOYC) group at Curé.
The group is comprised of 100 women, who each must have a child age five or younger to belong. Various social and spiritual activities are offered throughout the year, and members organize and coordinate the Gift Gallery as a way to support one of their primary aid organizations.
“Each year we support a variety of charities,” said Foster. “St. Benedict’s Children’s Center [in Kansas City, Kan.] is our primary philanthropy, which we also support throughout the year with monthly visits to help celebrate birthdays and to do a special activity; countless donations — including the establishment of a donation room from which the young parents can earn credits to shop; and Christmas in October ‘angel adoption’ for both the students and staff.”
Kasie Garlington, director of St. Benedict’s Early Education Center, said the support from Curé’s MOYC group is invaluable.
“Proceeds from the Gift Gallery will offer tremendous support to St. Benedict’s Early Education Center,” said Garlington. “Because of Curé of Ars’ MOYC’s continued support, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas will be better able to provide care and education for children and families in need.”
Members of MOYC hold the center in high regard and are committed to serving it, many after volunteering there.
“MOYC supports our program in many other ways as well,” Garlington said. “We enjoy our monthly visits, which include a project for each classroom, birthday cake, and a book for everyone that has a birthday that month. They often bring in used items to place in our donation room, as well as diapers and wipes for the classrooms.”
“At Christmastime,” she added, “the teachers receive a gift card and each child enrolled is adopted and receives items that they are in need of and want. Everyone is always so friendly. I am not sure what we would do without all of their help and support!”
Each year, 100 percent of the Gift Gallery’s proceeds are donated after costs. The group has donated $47,000 since it opened the gallery in 2003. Besides St. Benedict’s, MOYC has taken on a number of other charities, some closer to home.
“Camp Tekakwitha [in Williamsburg] and Curé’s school receive multiple scholarships to support camp tuition and those continuing on to Catholic high school, respectively,” said Foster. “Last year we were able to donate over $15,000 [to those causes].”
For those wanting to get a jump on their holiday shopping, the Gift Gallery’s 45 vendors and artisans have a number of items from which to choose. Additionally, Foster said the event was far from what you might expect at a typical craft fair.
“The festive atmosphere is beautiful and the perfect kickoff to your holiday shopping,” she said. “There is live entertainment, food and beverages, and a true spirit of giving throughout the event.
“The products featured at this event are unique, upscale and fabulous.”