Organ pipes in the Sanctuary of First Church in Cambridge. A wrought iron chandelier hangs in the foreground.

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Advent Season Gift-Giving and Donation Suggestions

November 17, 2021

Dear First Church Community,

The Missions & Social Justice Committee has had another eventful year of supporting the work of non-profit organizations, both near and far. As we approach the Advent season, we share with you a list of organizations with which First Church partners closely and who are seeking donations.

Additionally, we are sharing a list of organizations from which you may purchase unique gifts.  Vendors from these shops have filled Margaret Jewett Hall for our annual Alternative Christmas Fair in years past. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are sharing this list as a “virtual event” this year.

In the case that you and your family are in a position to support any of these organizations, we hope you find these lists helpful. If you have any questions, please reach out to Missions & Social Justice Committee member Molly Baker at:

Accepting Donations Locally

Christmas at First Church’s Shelter

At Christmas, each Shelter guest receives a $50 gift card for personal purchases. Would you like to sponsor one this year? Your donation will truly be appreciated by the Shelter guest. Donate here.

Friday Café

With a severe shortage of beds across Massachusetts, unhoused neighbors will need to layer to survive this winter. Friday Café is accepting donations of men’s large and women’s regular gloves. Donations can be dropped off in a box that will be placed near the church’s main office. Read more about and donate to the “Warm Hands, Warm Hearts” glove drive here

City Mission Christmas Shop

Each year City Mission collects thousands of gifts – clothes, toys, books and household goods – that are then made available to the City Mission’s Homelessness Prevention clients and other community partners who distribute gifts to their own clients.  The First Church Youth Group will be bringing gifts to City Mission and will be  helping to sort them on Sunday, December 5.  If you are interested in contributing to this cause, you can find the complete list of NEW items to donate on City Mission’s website herePlease drop off items during Hybrid Worship on December 5 or at the church office during the week between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Helping Hands Food Pantry

Donations continue to be welcomed and needed for the monthly food pantry at Fresh Pond Apartments, hosted by St. James Episcopal Church. The Food Pantry is looking for cereals and granola, canned fruit and veggies, proteins, condiments and feminine products. Unfortunately, no fresh food can be accepted. Also please be sure that your contributions are unopened, unexpired, and not in glass containers. Leave at any time in boxes on Hilary’s porch at 30 Winslow St, Cambridge.

Solutions at Work Toy Drive

SAW is accepting donations of gently used clothing, books, toys and baby equipment to offer to clients as a part of the clothing and toy exchange program.  Alternatively, they have together a wishlist for certain items, which you can access here. They are accepting donations through December 20. Donations can be shipped to 1151 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge 02138.  Or to arrange for drop-off or pick-up, please call SAW at 617-401-5335.

Alternative Christmas Fair Vendors – Please Shop Virtually!

Zienzele Foundation

  • Mission:  to promote self-reliance for poor women and children in Zimbabwe, and educational assistance to orphans, through small enterprise.
  • Products:  traditional Zimbabwean hand-woven baskets in an array of designs, colors and sizes.

Healthy Tomorrow

  • Mission:  to eradicate excision (FGM) of young girls in Mali, through public education, legal campaigns, village meetings, and media.
  • Donations only, but visit the website for short videos and musical offerings.

Heifer Project International

Canaan Fair Trade

  • Mission:  to aid Palestinian farmers by supporting Fair Trade of olive oil products in global markets.
  • Products:  All-natural plain and flavored olive oils and olive spreads.

Red Winds Councils

  • Mission:  to support the spiritual renewal and social justice struggle of Maya indigenous people.
  • Products:  Authentic hand-made textiles, clothing,  accessories, décor, jewelry, medicine pouches, masks, carvings, and more.

A Thread of Hope

  • Mission:  to support Mayan families, improve their living standards, preserve cultural traditions, and foster women’s leadership through Fair Trade relationships.
  • Products:  Loom-woven fabrics, shawls, faith-based items, ornaments, beadwork, masks, ponchos, booties, dolls, playsets, and more.

Muddy River Herbals

  • Mission:  to use and promote ecologically sound methods of growing healing herbs and botanicals in Eastern New England.
  • Products:  culinary, healing, bird-friendly, pollinator-friendly, personal care and native plants and seeds. Online classes.