Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2017 Annual IPN Holiday Open House a Success

    By Christine Sheller         

           Thanks to many the annual IPN Holiday Open House & Alternative Gift Fair proved a success.  Dec. 9, 2017, around 2:00 pm people started gathering, shopping, snacking, and visiting with one another.  Approximately 25 people were in attendance.
            We had great gift vendors, including Guatemalan handicrafts, Palestinian wood items, Palestinian olive oil, items from AFSC,  chocolate, tea, and coffee from Equal Exchange, IPN’s peace items including some new pottery, and chances to give in honor to organizations such as Heifer International, Global Women’s Project, Trees for Life (Teach for Life), and Church World Service. 
            At 2:30 pm, Jody Mashek was introduced to the gathering. Mashek is from AFSC and her presentation was our program on immigration in Iowa.  She presented on immigration with facts that were interesting and astounding.  Perhaps not surprising, the rate of ICE arrests have risen in the last year.  Racial profiling is happening even in convenience stores.  There was some time for questions.  At the conclusion of the presentation, an offering was taken for AFSC’s immigration program.  They have a legal services program, where Mashek is Legal Services Director. 

            After the presentation, there was more time for snacks and shopping.  It was said there wasn’t enough time for shopping, so maybe next year we will look at the schedule again!  I’d like to give a big thank you to all who helped to make the Open House a success - each vendor, all shoppers and audience members, the JOC members and friends, and our speaker.  I’d also like to thank the Ivester Church of the Brethren  in rural Eldora/ Grundy Center for sharing the Equal Exchange items which were originally bought for Ivester’s Alternative Gift Fair ( held a few weeks before the IPN Open House).  It would not be possible to hold our Open House without the help of everyone I mentioned. 

Christine Sheller is coordinator at Iowa Peace Network, and is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary. 

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