What’s better than a local craft fair? A market of non- and not-for-profits, looking to make a difference in their local community and around the globe through various missions and causes.
That’s what Sara Stratton thought about when she organized Buckley’s first Missional Market last October, and why the craft fair is returning, bigger and better, next week.
Stratton, a Plateau resident, is the founder of Ragini Project, a non-profit that sells fair-trade jewelry, apparel, home goods and more through her website in order to support both artists and their families around the world as well as raise money for grants to go to families interested in international adoption.
But since she only has an online store, Stratton decided last year that she had to start organizing “pop-up events” in order to bring in more revenue for these grants.
Of course, craft fairs do better when more groups are involved, so she put the word out for local non-profits who had similar missions and goals. In total, six groups came together for a night of socializing and shopping at Buckley’s Anchor House on Main Street.
“The evening was amazing,” Stratton said, from the live music from members of Sumner’s Calvary Church to the wine tasting provided by Water from Wine, a non-profit in Paterson, WA, that sells wine to fund clean water projects around the world. It was such a success, that, “we’re doing it again and growing it, as much as the facility will allow.”
The event is called the Missional Market because, “Everybody who is participating as a vendor is strong in their spiritual walk,” Statton said, adding that it’s not a faith event, and everyone is welcome.
Along with Water from Wine and the Ragini Project, six more local non- and not-for-profits will be setting up shop at the Anchor House on March 9 from 6 to 9 p.m.: The Baker’s Cookie, selling gluten-free baked goods to raise funds for a “soon-to-open, not-for-profit coffee shop” inside Anchor House; Ransomed Cuffs, selling handcrafted accessories from reclaimed materials to raise funds to local foster families; Modern Day Roots, another not-for-profit that supports local foster families by selling on-trend apparel; Amber Newman Art, which sells paintings that support Arise Talents Uganda, a school that helps youth and young adults in Uganda; Water Access Now, which sells Ghanian handicrafts that funds sustainable water projects in Ghana communities; and Enumclaw’s Brick and Willow, who will be setting up a flower bar to make unique bouquets. For every bouquet made, one will be donated to the Enumclaw Heath and Rehabilitation Center.
Additionally, “some of the businesses on Main Street, like the Queen’s Ransom and the Barn Door, are going to stay open late and try to bring business to Buckley,” Stratton said.
The Ragini Project itself will be donating all proceeds made from Stratton’s booth, as well as all online sales in March, to help Enumclaw couple Brian and Juliette Hiller, who are currently working to adopt a child from Liberia.
A CAUSE CLOSE TO THE HEART
Adoption is a big deal for Stratton and her family — they worked for nearly two years to adopt their daughter Ila, who is from India, in 2016.
In fact, it was this adoption that led to the creation of the Ragini Project, Ragini being Ila’s birth name.
It was during a homeschool lesson with her eldest son about Indian culture that first brought Stratton’s attention to India’s orphan issue.
“I personally fell in love with Indian culture, and through that study, found out there was an orphan problem, but I didn’t realize there were 31 million orphans in India at any given time,” Stratton said. “My husband and I joked that we can’t figure out whose idea it was first to adopt… but when we did make that decision, there was no question that it was going to be from India.”
Unfortunately for the Strattons, international adoption can be pricey. The average total cost can be anywhere between $35,000 to $40,000, according to American Adoptions — and that’s just the paperwork and fees.
“And the whole time, I thought, there has got to be an easier way, rather than having garage sales and all of these fundraisers,” Stratton said. “So a few months after our daughter was home, it occurred to me — I’ve always been drawn to fair trade type shopping… and I realized, I could do this, and all of our funds could fund adoption grants.”
Since the creation of the Ragini Project in 2017, the non-profit has given $6,500 in grants to nine families, and Stratton’s goal is to raise $2,000 at the market and online sales for the Hiller family.