Author: Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Safe shopping options at World Fare

Safe shopping options at World Fare

Our amazing volunteers are standing by to support your safe gift shopping needs this holiday season

It’s been a year of incredible disruption for individuals and businesses throughout our community. Your extra efforts to shop locally this holiday season will make a HUGE difference…but can you do so safely? Our World Fare leadership team and volunteers have collaborated with creativity and commitment to keep our doors open in support of our farmer and artisan partners. Here’s what to expect as a customer:

  • Please refer to the COVID symptom and exposure checklist posted on the door before entering the store. If you are sick or if you have been exposed to others who may be positive, please stay home and take good care of yourself. Our volunteers share this commitment as well to keep you safe.
  • Masks that cover mouth and nose are required inside the store for all customers and volunteers, and hand sanitizer is available at both front and back entrances.
  • Maximum capacity in the store is 7 people. If you come to shop and the store looks full, just phone us at (269) 273-1253 and we’ll call you right back as soon as things slow down. The capacity and phone number are also posted on the front and back doors for easy reference.
  • If you desire an appointment for a personal shopping time in the store or virtual shopping from home, please give us a call or reply to this e-mail. We’ll be happy to connect you with a volunteer who can assist you.
  • Consider gifting your loved ones with Fare Thee Well gift boxes, which can easily be ordered online from the safety of home and will be shipped directly to the recipient.

Thank you for all you’re doing to help keep our community safe! It’s a long haul, but this is why we practice kindness and compassion every day: so we’re ready to support one another in times of crisis. Keep it up, friends!

2014 Chocolate Affair winners

2014 Chocolate Affair winners

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Chocolate Affair fair trade chocolate bake-off!  From left to right: Lorie Minor, Marian Deames, Cian Monroe, Brian Deames and Dawn Bohm.  Over 80 people turned out to warm up the winter weekend with a selection of chocolate delights from the area’s most creative bakers!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas Around Town!

Three Rivers merchants and volunteers continue to work together to provide an array of fun, family-friendly activities to celebrate the holidays throughout your historic downtown.  Here’s what’s coming up…mark your calendar!  All two-day weekend activities take place 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday.


Come together in the mural mall for hot cocoa, carols and the lighting of the lovely tree at 6:15 p.m.


Join us on Thanksgiving weekend for cookie decorating, a holiday hunt, shopping, a visit from Santa and his reindeer…and more!


Vote for your favorite downtown Christmas tree for a chance to win $50 in Downtown Dollars to be spent at participating businesses.


All proceeds from this delightful evening with Michiana’s favorite Irish band support the Huss Project’s efforts to build community in Three Rivers through food, art, play and friendship.  Click here for more info and online ticketing.  The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and the suggested donation is $15, with tickets ranging from $10-$100.


Vote for your favorite cookie for a chance to win $50 in Downtown Dollars to be spent at participating businesses.  Collect recipes, too!


Last-minute shoppers can enter to win a basket of downtown goodies!


Many downtown businesses will be open special hours on Dec. 23 and 24 and the Riviera Theatre will host a FREE Christmas movie on Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.!


Remembering Ellen and Bruce

Remembering Ellen and Bruce

This past summer has been a time of great loss for the Three Rivers community, including World Fare.  Two active local visionaries passed away at relatively young ages, leaving the rest of us behind to continue the good work to which they were so dedicated.

Ellen Thompson served on the World Fare board of directors from 2009-2011, always bringing a sense of quiet hopefulness and wisdom to the board’s stewardship of the store’s mission.  Along with others, she encouraged the board to consider not just what World Fare could offer in partnership with economically disadvantaged communities abroad, but how we could individually and collectively work for justice and reconciliation in our own community.  She expressed her commitment especially through her involvement with ERAC/CE, an organization committed to helping people recognize and eliminate racism in themselves and in their communities.  Ellen could often be spotted around town, even after she became ill, sporting her beautiful, multi-color fair trade sweater from World Fare and a lovely smile.  The wide range of mourners at her memorial service attested to her compassion in the many roles she accepted — as leader, friend, sister, aunt, mentor.  Ellen passed away on June 13, 2013.

Bruce Snook, who served on the World Fare board from 2008-2011, passed away more recently on August 29 after a brief illness.  Going all the way back to 2003, Bruce was one of a handful of local leaders who encouraged the founding of World Fare in downtown Three Rivers.  After he retired from his position as the director of the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce, Bruce carried his vision for a flourishing community into a new venture, an online publication called River Country Journal.  Influenced by movements that emphasize community strengths as a critical resource for positive change, Bruce was always quick to lift up the efforts of World Fare and other local organizations seeking to enhance life in the Three Rivers area through justice, creativity and compassionate commitment.  Many remember his gentle smile and soothing radio voice, which were just the outward reflections of a truly humble, hopeful, wise spirit.

We will greatly miss Ellen and Bruce as we go forward, knowing that our best tribute to their work will be to continue and grow the community they imagined: one in which all people have a voice and share a sense of purpose and belonging.

Ten Years: A photo and a poem

Ten Years: A photo and a poem

The Fair World
by Elisabeth Wenger

Quintessence of Main Street dust,
summertime is your bike and that one song
that each birdfilled morning you wake to find
going round your head again, a beat you
walk down green familiar streets to, marking time
and territory.

And perhaps you shall mistake this decade door for your own—
it is much the same—and open, step through, blink,
to find yourself in Sri Lanka, the ocean’s tear,
smelling the rich tea-earth stopping your mouth.
You may open a door and find the ribbon-flecked streets
of Kinshasa and Antananarivo, find yourself in Paraguay,

in Ecuador, Eritrea, Micronesia, places
you may never go, but you will know the songs of,
singing along in languages you do not understand
but like the strange taste of in your mouth. Through the door
the fair is bright with jongleur’s lights, and euphonous,
and all the saints whose day it is smile from their plinths,

wrapped in their atlas robes, silk, cotton, and flax.
The booths shine with the distilled work of hands so honored,
caught like lakeside fireflies in a jam jar to light your nights.
The price of honor is honor, and to pay it is weightless
and to be paid is to open your eyes. The fare is free,
fairness is the evenhanded maker of the fair. The door is open.

And at the back, Nepalese newspapers
used for packing pile up, which you cannot read,
but which nonetheless tell of people
who walk down other Main Streets, their feet and speech,
in characters as beautiful as trees. This is all
so different from what you know, and yet the newsprint

feels just the same, rubs off on your thumbs in the same
inky way. Their dust is your dust, and the justice of this
has not been lost, though the idea of it has traveled the world
without you.