I often think of the many ways we express our love for one another. There is, of course, the kind of love we celebrate during Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc. There is also the love we have for institutions that make a difference in the lives of many through their work. What if we could combine both? Give that special someone an artisan-made gift that gives back...twice! When you purchase fair trade gifts for your Valentine, you are supporting countless producers AND a wonderful organization right here in St. Louis!
Here is how YOU can show your love:
- WHAT: Shop Fair Trade gifts at our store located at 3211 South Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 63118 or online.
- WHEN: Tuesday, February 7 to Friday, February 10 (11AM - 8PM)
- RESULT: we will donate 15% of all sales to the International Institute!
The International Institute of St Louis, established in 1919, offers comprehensive adjustment services for refugees and immigrants in our community. In turn, these newcomers expand the richness of St Louis' diversity and help revitalize our economy. IISTL's array of adjustment services reaches more than 7,500 immigrants and refugees from 75 countries. As an immigrant myself, you can see how special this fundraiser effort is.
The Institute has important multi-generational ties to local immigrant communities. Their programs and services are locally and nationally-acclaimed. They have deep knowledge of the state of the immigrant communities and population trends. They serve as key consultants on a broad range of issues affecting the social, cultural and economic health of our region. Their mission is to help immigrants and their families become productive Americans and champion ethnic diversity as a cultural and economic strength.
This nonprofit organization needs our support to continue their programs. They are arranged in three categories: immersion, investment and inclusion.
IISTL has had a hand in the resettlement and integration of nearly every new immigrant population in St. Louis for almost 95 years. They work with newcomers to provide initial housing, jobs and orientation and health support as needed. Later they provide citizenship and other community integration services – so vital during what is, for many immigrants, a lifelong adjustment process.
Awareness is growing that immigrants add economic value to our community and state as consumers, workers and entrepreneurs. When they start businesses as a disproportionately large number of them do, they create jobs and wealth for our entire community. Providing technical support and microloans to immigrants yields a high payback for everyone.
Newcomers and long-timers must appreciate and value one another to successfully live and work together. There must also be ways for them to communicate and learn from each other. IISTL is the St. Louis region's authority on issues that involve connecting immigrants and the wider community. They offer fee-based multilingual communication solutions so companies can take greater advantage of the growing global business market; recruit and retain a multicultural workforce; and build a larger multicultural customer base. IISTL also produces the annual Festival of Nations, which showcases multicultural performances, demonstrations, and food. Offered free to the general public, the festival draws more than 140,000 visitors together while raising money and awareness for people-in-need.
So, as you think about finding a special card and shopping for a beautiful gift, handcrafted with love, for your Valentine, please know you will also be supporting a local nonprofit organization when you shop with us. We had the opportunity to raise funds for M.I.R.A. in 2016 and the result was, well AMAZING.