Several weeks ago, House + Home featured a story previewing the annual Bunyaad Oriental rug sale at Ten Thousand Villages in Overland Park.
When I visited the store recently to pick up merchandise for this special holiday gift guide, I was greeted by store manager Kendra Fink, who grabbed me and gave me a hug.
After the story ran, the shop doubled the number of rugs sold this year to 49, she said. The sale of each one will allow the store to place another order next year with the family who made it.
Hearing that made my heart sing. It’s nice to know that so many people want to help their fellow man, and it told me I was on the right track when I chose the theme for this section.
Plenty of area shops carry holiday and all-season decor that directly affects the lives of the most vulnerable among us by funneling proceeds to nonprofit groups that provide training, fair wages, health benefits and other services for them.
The ring of the cash register sounds so much sweeter when you know that the beaded Nativity set you just bought will help African artisans expand their businesses. Or that proceeds from those whimsical cheese knives will pay for the education and medical treatment of artisans in India and their families.
Even that fancy bed that you bought online for your four-legged friend will help, by funding the care and medical treatment of abandoned, abused and neglected animals. And that heated birdbath — it could keep our fine feathered friends from dying of thirst in winter’s freeze.
It’s about putting your money where it will promote health and education, comfort and security, hope and dignity.
Most of the items in this section come from fair trade groups that pay their artisans a fair price for their wares and work toward reducing poverty, treating workers ethically and promoting environmentally sustainable practices.
Many are also one-of-a-kind items that will add an exquisite and exotic touch to the home.
The Tree of Life quilt, for instance, measures about 80 square feet and has tens of thousands of stitches. Each tiny stitch is unique, and the lines they create are imperfect, a telltale sign that this exquisite piece was made by hand. Its fabrics, some of them faded from use, tell the story of a place where little is wasted.
I like to imagine that the artisans who created it stepped back in wonder and pride when they finished sewing the last stitch, secure in knowing that the money they earned by making it will improve their lives.
And who wouldn’t feel good about that?