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Purchase with a Purpose gives shopping a higher meaning – WVUA 23



By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Candace Johnson

Purchase with a Purpose in Tuscaloosa is aptly named, as shoppers at the nonprofit store are helping fund mission trips when they hand over their money.

The nonprofit that got its start in 2013 provides a market for products made locally as well as around the world ranging from clothes and jewelry to home decor.

“We started out as a Christmas shopping event,” said Purchase with a Purpose Director Jennifer Ballard. “We’ve been around for 10 and a half years, but we’ve been in the shop of our own for one year on May 13.”

The store sells handmade goods created by businesses that work with groups including trafficking survivors, refugees, foster families or ministerial outreach. And cost is always a major consideration.

“Our clothes are only $1, and our shoes are $2,” said Ballard.

The Starfish Project derives from the starfish parable, and jewelry from the group is made by women who were trafficked in China.

“Whatever we sell makes a difference to that one artisan at a time, and so that makes it all worth it,” said Ballard.

The shop does business worldwide as they have sold items from over 60 countries and 15 states.

“Every time we add a new country, we put it on the map,” she said.

Everything in the store has a story, and anything purchased goes toward funding missions.

So what are these missions? Helping people in need, Ballard said.

In one instance, an adoptive family was given financial assistance for adoption fees. In another, a foster family needed a baby stroller. Purchase with a Purpose was there to help in those instances and more.

There are famous recycled bags made from discarded items from a woman in Haiti. Each bag has a label detailing what items went into it and how many Haitians are employed by the effort.

“I feel like the shop is also an encouraging place where we’re able to encourage people like her,” said Ballard.

Purchase with a Purpose has generated over $600,000 for missions. The store consists of 25 volunteers who donate their time and efforts.

“A lot of the artists and groups are employing anywhere from 45 people to like 1,500 people.”

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