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Community Day of Giving: An alternative to Black Friday

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Last year, on what is traditionally the "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving, when the holiday shopping season traditionally cranks into overdrive, the Paramount Theater staged its very first Alternative Gift Fair, raising thousands of dollars for seventeen of Charlottesville's beloved non-profits, including organizations dedicated to energy, poverty, animal rescue, nature, the arts, education, innovation, and more.

On this coming Black Friday, November 29, 2013, from 12:00-7:00 PM, the Paramount will reprise last year's fantastic premiere, with nearly double the number of charities participating. At the Paramount Theater's Second Annual Alternative Gift Fair, the fair's sole stars and beneficiaries will again be Charlottesville's beloved non-profits and charities.

At the fair, there will be no 'things' for sale as one might expect to find at a typical holiday bazaar. Instead, holiday shoppers at this virtual "mall" will visit dozens of local organizations, learn about their work and challenges, and decide whether to name a gift to that organization in honor of a friend, colleague or loved one. A gift donation might be adequate to provide school lunches for a week for a child, a hammer for a volunteer home rebuilder, or a book a month for an adult only now learning to read. The Alternative Gift Fair model offers a leg up to local non-profits who struggle to fulfill their missions in a difficult economy, particularly at year-end.

Returning Organizations:

  • Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
  • Building Bridges Charlottesville
  • Building Goodness Foundation
  • Carson Raymond Foundation
  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad
  • Habitat For Humanity of Greater Charlottesville
  • Literacy Volunteers of Albemarle/Charlottesville
  • Operation Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry
  • Meals on Wheels
  • PACEM
  • Ring Dog Rescue
  • Service Dogs of Virginia.

New Alternative Gift Fair Beneficiaries:

  • Alliance for Interfaith Ministries
  • Alzheimer's Association
  • The Arc of The Piedmont
  • Charlottesville Free Clinic
  • The Helen Project International
  • Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA)
  • Jefferson Area Children's Health Improvement Program (CHiP)
  • Lighthouse Studio
  • Madison House
  • North Branch School
  • Park School
  • Region Ten Community Services
  • Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Rotary Club of The Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Virginia Organizing

Paramount staff offers a one-stop checkout so there is no pressure on buyers. Charities don't know who their donors are until they receive a list after the event, and even then the donor may choose to remain anonymous. Shoppers may pay by cash or credit card, and one hundred percent of their donations go to their designated charities. The Paramount absorbs all of the overhead costs, which this year is again generously underwritten by Victor Millner of Northwestern Mutual.

Families participating in the Downtown tree lighting can participate in this community day of giving. Following the downtown Christmas tree lighting, first-grader Junie B. Jones will be performing at 6:30 PM. An important lesson about giving is wrapped into this holiday story, which complements the Alternative Gift Fair that will be taking place in the lobby of the Paramount.

Costs:

  • Alternative gift fair and tree lighting: Free
  • Junie B. Jones performance: $12.50, $15.50.

Tickets are on sale online, or at the Box Office, 215 East Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Box office hours: Monday-Friday, 10 AM - 2 PM.

For more information, call 434-979-1333

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