American humorist Mark Twain once admonished his readers not to “go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing,” he reminded them. “It was here first!”
Putting the “owing” question aside, a Pittsford nonprofit gift shop is helping people in developing countries make a living by buying handcrafts from fair trade vendors and selling them to Rochester area residents. Artisans all over the globe have their jewelry, scarves, purses, decorative accessories, and a myriad of other items on display at One World Goods in the Pittsford Plaza.
Raquel Marchenese, manager of the store, says, “Through these sales, we help create jobs with dignity for our global neighbors so they may provide, food, shelter, health care, and education for their families.”
The store gives back locally as well: 20 percent of total upcoming evening (6-9 p.m.) sales is to be donated to the Catholic Family Center (11/17) and to the Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network (RAIHN, 11/28). Marchenese adds, “We also make monetary donations to artisan and humanitarian organizations that benefit people in need worldwide.”
The store began in a local home back in 1987. A group of churchwomen began to sell fair trade goods at local churches and schools.Their efforts were initially supported by the Greater Rochester Community of Churches. In time, a permanent store was opened in Fairport and One World Goods was established as a not-for-profit organization.
The move to Pittsford Plaza in 1997 saw tremendous growth in sales.
The commitment to giving is found in the fact that about 90 volunteers help run the store and serve on the Board of Directors. In addition to the surprises awaiting shoppers, especially during this holiday season, there’s another surprise to be found in the store’s atypical outreach program. One World Goods actually has a Speakers Bureau to spread the word. Organizations wishing to learn more about the store and the artisans it represents can schedule a presentation by simply calling the store at 387-0070.
By shopping at One World Goods, you may not be able to do a metaphoric ocean of good, but you will be able to bring some good to the world. As Mother Teresa says, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”