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Store features handcrafted gifts

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:03 PM


Looking for a unique gift for the person who has everything? A local store features handcrafted gifts from this area and foreign countries with the bonus of helping families from Norwalk to Asia.

The Added Gift, 124 Cleveland Road in back of the Ministry for Successful Relationships building, sells items from local crafters and also crafters from third world countries.

"This helps families here and around the world," said Diana Salsberry, volunteer for the shop. International crafts are available through Ten Thousand Villages. Salsberry said that charitable organization opens up world-wide markets to poor villages in third world countries.

"This is literally keeping them alive," she said. "In countries like Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, they have no access to international markets and often don't get many tourists." Ten Thousand Villages will buy the items from often-remote villages and then find stores in the U.S. to sell them.

Stone carvings, statues, onyx items, wooden puzzles, mirrors, baskets, bowls, placemats, tablecloths, pillows, toys, Christmas ornaments, candles, candleholders that's a short list of what is available at The Added Gift.

"Most of them are pretty reasonable," Salsberry said. Toys range from $3.50 to $15 and candles and candleholders range from $5 to $12.

The shop also offers some more expensive gifts. "We have some pieces that are very nice and very expensive," she said, such as a solid onyx lamp. "They are really art pieces. They're one-of-a-kind and handcrafted."

The Added Gift also offers less-expensive, but unique, gifts. "We have some bracelets from India and they are dyed bone," she said, adding that the villagers eat the meat and then use everything, including the bones.

The Added Gift, which opened in March, is open from noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Salsberry said if more volunteers came forward, hours could be expanded.

"We desperately need more volunteers. We could be open more hours if we had more volunteers," she said. The store is staffed by all volunteers to keep prices as low as possible.

The shop also features the work of 10 local vendors as part of their ministry to help families, Salsberry said. "We have that to offer an opportunity for people to sell handcrafted items to bring in additional income."

She said one of the main reasons that people come to the Ministry of Successful Relationships is because of financial problems. "We realize that if we can offer a way to relieve some of that financial burden and stress, that helps the family," she said.

Salsberry said the name of the shop The Added Gift came from that idea. "They're not just purchasing the gift, but they're helping the family that made the gift," she explained.

The Added Gift is run by the Ministry of Successful Relationships, a non-denominational program designed to build strong families and marriages. The ministry offers student leadership programs, financial counseling, pastoral counseling and marriage seminars and retreats.

Rev. Brad L. Mason heads the programs. Board members are Scott Tester and Tom Schubert, of Norwalk; Dr. Christina Canfield, of Wakeman; Brad Hall, of Marblehead; and Ray Jensen, of Port Clinton.

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