Pauline Loyer said she'd like to see more people “shopping with a conscience.” One way to do that, she said, is to support locally owned businesses.
Another is to shop at Village International Sudbury, a downtown-based, non-profit organization that sells fair-trade products.
“If you're going to be spending money this year, think about where it's going,” she said.
Village International, which is in its 20th year, forges relationships with artisans in developing countries, and offers them fair prices for their products, with the goal of improving their lives.
By paying these artisans properly, they're being offered a “hand up instead of a hand out,” Loyer said.
“What do you do when you're begging?” she said. “You're ashamed. You're begging with your head down ... You do deserve to feel that confidence in yourself. Pay them a fair living wage.”
Among the numerous products on offer at the store right now are nativity scenes from Peru, jewellery from Mexico, minerals from around the world and fair-trade chocolate, spices and even candy canes.
Village International Sudbury also heeds the plight of those in its own backyard.
“We live a good life in Canada, but we have children that are going hungry in our own country,” Loyer said.
This year, the organization is adopting three families for Christmas, and is looking for food and toy donations. It's also participating in the Infant Food Bank's Fill a Crib program, and is seeking donations of baby items.
Village International is waiving taxes for customers who donate items, as well as those who donate Canadian Tire money, which is, in turn, used to purchase new items for families.
For more information, phone Village International Sudbury at 705-524-2999 or visit the store at 139 Durham St.