Loving Hands bring crafts to ULV

Campus Times
December 12, 1997

photo by Alen Zilic

Competing with mass producers, artists from more than 40 under-developed countries have an opportunity to show and sell their work. Loving Hands Gifts International, a non-profit volunteer organization, helps these people earn an income. These handmade objects were exhibited for sale, with the support of the La Verne Church of the Brethren, on Monday and Tuesday in the West Dining Room. Dr. Sharon K. Davis, professor of sociology, takes time to examine some of the objects.

by Ryan Sones
Staff Writer

For the past six years, the Loving Hands crafts store has come to the University of La Verne campus with the Self-Help Program.

This past Monday and Tuesday, items crafted in more than 40 different undeveloped countries were on sale in the West Dining Room.

"Our benefit is being able to purchase these homemade wares of various people and their cultures. Their [makers of the products] benefit is that they are getting the proceeds of what they make," said Self-Help Program contact Debbie Roberts, Protestant campus minister.

Products for the store are acquired from Sales Exchange Refugee Rehabilitation Vocation International (SERRV).

SERRV is a cooperative exchange group who finds oppressed societies throughout the world and enables them to make and market a product to the United States.

By working this way, SERRV is able to eliminate the middleman and markup of prices and taxes according to a SERRV customer service representative.

SERRV does, however, make sure that the working environments for these people are good and without child labor. This eliminates the worry of buying products from an inhumane sweatshop.

The San Marcos, Calif., based store is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, and has already done more than 45 of the traveling craft shows this Christmas season.

The profits made from the Loving Hands traveling craft show will go to the store which, in turn, helps them support their local church.

Loving Hands salespeople work on a volunteer basis. The markup on the goods is very minimal, and the majority of the profits are directed to help support their church.

"The one important thing to remember is that out of every $1,000 worth of merchandise sold, it feeds a family of four in a developing country for a year," said Loving Hands volunteer, Alberta Wood of San Marcos.

The main contribution can be clear by looking at last year's numbers for Loving Hands: $170,000 that feeds 170 families of four in poverty-stricken countries for one year.