Pay more on Cyber Monday for a good cause, says Camden couple

With Cyber Monday in full swing today, millions of people are searching for the best bargains online. But one website is asking you to pay more for its products.

Until midnight on Cyber Monday, some items on the website CharityGiftMarket.com will be marked up, instead of down as in most other places. It is the "Un-Sale".

The Camden-based couple who started the charity market website in 2011 wanted to use one of the biggest online shopping days of the year to help those less fortunate.

All products from Made By Survivors will be priced higher than usual, with the goal of securing enough funds for the organization to rescue one woman from a brothel in India in early 2013.

The highest increase is a necklace with the word “Free” as a pendant, originally priced at $50, marked up to $450. That single purchase would rescue one woman from trafficking in India, Lindsey said.
“Once a woman is rescued, ongoing employment and support are in place for her continued support,” the website states.

Two years ago, Camden couple Andy and Lindsey Markelz were starting their holiday shopping and found themselves frustrated with what the big box stores were offering.

They started looking around charity websites and found some neat products to give to friends and family, while helping a charitable cause.
The couple, who met while working for the Peace Corps in the Republic of Kiribati —— a string of coral atolls in the Pacific, straddling the Equator —— shared a passion for international humanitarian work. Instead of searching for individual charities and nonprofits that sell unique items to help impoverished countries, they thought, why not have a website that lists a variety of products created to promote and support nonprofits.

And so, in June 2011, CharityGiftMarket.com went live. So far, more than 45 charities have partnered with the website to sell their products. They receive 92 percent of the sales proceeds.

This year, more than $16,000 worth of products have been sold on the website, Lindsey said.

Charity Gift Market, which is run out of the couple’s Fairview home, is now Lindsey’s full-time job. Andy is a special-education teacher in South Philadelphia and works part-time on the website.

The couple arrived in Camden in 2008 when Lindsey landed a job at Urban Promise International, a Christian youth development organization in East Camden that has opened schools and other facilities in various parts of the world.

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