Almanac

Community - December 14, 2011

Church opens 'pop-up' store downtown

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church has opened a "pop-up" store at 846 Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Menlo Park to sell handcrafted products from developing countries daily through Dec. 24.

Church volunteers are staffing the store, open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Products from many countries include clothing and jewelry created by female artisans in Guatemala, many their families' only wage earners. Wastebaskets and several types of bags were made from non-recyclable plastics bought from trash-picking communities in Jakarta.

The store features sculptures and jewelry, made of discarded aluminum, copper, and glass, and created by street people in Nairobi's Haruma slums. There are bags sewn by Cambodian women.

Also for sale are beaded bowls formed in the Darogetti slums of Kenya and wooden bowls and salad servers made in Kenya, with profits used to buy school uniforms and haircuts for more than 200 orphans.

"When people buy our products, they'll be partnering with the poor, helping to empower them to make a difference in their needy communities," says store manager Robin Simpson.

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