Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 8 of Giving that Gives Back: Meet Mercy Goods

Mercy Goods
Good That Transforms

From early on in our time working as St.Bryce Missions here in Costa Rica, one of the things God began to build a passion and a vision for was job creation, skills training and meaningful work in our area. The area in we live and minister is one of the most rural regions of Costa Rica. It also has one of the lowest rate of family income in the country. For women, access to work outside the domestic arena is limited. If it is available, it is often located an hour or more away in the city. For single moms or moms with young children, it is nearly impossible to work in the city without having to pay for additional child care. And if a woman can't leave home to work for reasons such as being the primary care taker of an elderly or disables relative, her options for finding income for her family are non-existent.

After much prayer, conversation, and research, we began an outreach providing skills training and meaningful work opportunities to women in our area. We are in the process of rebranding and designing our shop right now, but the title above is the name of our social enterprise: Mercy Goods. If you click under my archives tab on "meaningful work", you can follow along much for the process as I brainstormed my way through to getting the enterprise off the ground. 

Our ladies produce hand made quilts and other items from reclaimed clothing that we source locally. We reduce our consumer footprint by turning bags of clothes that were headed to the landfill into usable, sellable craft items. We create a cycle of giving that gives back by first contracting our ladies to make quilts for a current partner that we choose to "cover in mercy". Sponsors donate the price of the quilt and the ladies are then paid to produce them. We at St. Bryce Missions deliver them to the partner. We have to date covered our local orphanage, the first licensed safe house for trafficking victims here in Costa Rica, and the Gleason House for ALS patients in our Mercy Covers quilts.

Tomorrow, we will open  the opportunity to contract our artists to create a waterproof quilt for the homeless this Christmas. Our goal will be to cover the local homeless community in the nearby city of Turrialba in mercy, as well as the community being served by our friends in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. This will mean contracting a total of 70 quilts. I do hope you will come back tomorrow and give this special gift that gives back three-fold: to the recipient of the quilt, to the artist and her family who are employed and empowered by your donation, and to you the donor who does to do good that transforms.

In addition to the quilts. we then give our artists the opportunity to take ownership over the materials and skills we provide them and create other items for sale. While we are waiting for our shop front to be ready, you can view the items available to purchase on our Facebook page. So today, would you stop and take a look around? Perhaps find an item or two you might like? And share this post or the page with your social media connections?

Building this kind of enterprise is way more challenging than I ever expected and much slower going than I thought it would be. Your help and encouragement keeps me and our artists pushing forward through the obstacles seeking to transform lives and families and communities. We truly appreciate that more than you will ever know.

P.S. I had all these great photos to add to this post. But blogger is all, "Hey, Lady, day of rest. Get it?" Bu they are all on our Facebook albums, so that just means you HAVE to head over and click around, right?

All posts in this series can be found linked here.

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