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Unique holiday gift sale on Sunday will benefit homeless

With the holidays fast approaching, many have shopping on the mind. While malls and department stores may seem like the best place to go, try looking to alternative shopping for your holiday gifts this season. And this year, you can not only get healthy alternative gifts but also help the homeless.

On Sunday, Dec. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m., StreetWise magazine will hold its Third Annual Holiday Fundraiser at Praha, 3849 North Lincoln Ave. Praha will edonate 15 percent of their sales to Streetwise.

StreetWise Inc. is a social enterprise organization that helps unemployed and underemployed men and women. By providing social services like employment training and housing support, StreetWise is able to accomplish its mission. The organization also publishes StreetWise Magazine, a weekly publication that vendors at risk of homelessness sell for both profit and a meaningful employment experience — a way to assist on their journey towards financial stability.

Designer Christine Hutchison of Five Accessories will be selling her pieces at the Streetwise fundraiser for the second time. Her unique designs combine fashion and style with social awareness. Five Accessories prides itself on being a social enterprise committed to creating eco-friendly sustainable fashions including handbags, jewelry and home decor.

Five Accessories has five lines from five different countries: Bali, India, Honduras and the U.S. Products to be featured  at the Praha event include the Bamboo and Coconut Shell handbags from the Bali Collection. Five Accessories employs people from small villages to hand-craft the items. Five dollars from each handbag and 15 percent of each jewelry sale go toward a foundation that supports under-privileged school children to help them continue their education.

Also on display at the Praha event will be handbags from the Cambodia line. The bags come in a variety of sizes, the smallest capable of holding an iPad. The bags are hand-made of repurposed mosquito netting  in Phom Phem, Cambodia by members of the group Smateria. A portion of the proceeds are donated to help women and children who are victims of human trafficking and sex slavery.

Off the Street is Five Accessories’ newest line. This income-generating program employs vendors from Streetwise on an hourly basis to create handmade accessories using recycled material from the streets of Chicago. “Off the Street empowers people to stay off the street by using recycled material,” Hutchison said.

Streetwise vendors also collect materials including bottle tops and old transit cards to make the accessories. They get credit towards buying StreetWise magazines by collecting the recyclable materials. With the help of StreetWise, Five Accessories has collected more than 12,000 transit cards.

The products made through the Off the Street Program include picture frames and bracelets. The picture frames are adorned with either transit cards or recycled newspapers. Bottle top bracelets are made from can pop tops and ribbon. The bracelets come in a variety of colors that include purple, green, orange and blue. Each item comes with the picture and story of the individual who made it, and 15 percent of each sale is donated back to StreetWise.

For more information on the Streetwise Holiday Fundraiser, check out the flier on the StreetWise website. Hutchison and Five Accessories with be featured in StreetWise Magazine this December. To inquire about custom orders or online shopping, got to

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