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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

Buying from Traveling Thrift ‘Like Planting a Mustard Seed’

A group of indigenous kids and women from Central and South America

Buying something from Traveling Thrift is like “planting a mustard seed,” say founders Joel and Stepphany Viera. With a presence on Etsy and at artisan markets, Traveling Thrift sells crafts made by indigenous women in Central and South America, and then uses the proceeds in those regions in various ways—from funding children’s cancer treatments to feeding and housing marginalized people.

The Vieras document their work on social media. “Being photographers and cinematographers allows us to reach different places as an excuse to reach many lives,” Stepphany says.

Joel calls Traveling Thrift “a heart project.”

“Those who purchase from Traveling Thrift are helping countries such as Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico, among others,” he says. “Since it joins different nonprofit organizations, such as Aldea de Niño, Cajas para el Mundo, and Nuevo Pasos, it allows patrons to help others directly by purchasing products created to help and improve. Every purchase helps sponsor students, put food on a table, build a roof on a school, and so much more. That’s why every item in our store has a story.”

For example, TT helps combat sexual abuse of young people ages 3 to 30 years by providing art and professional therapies and family, independent and youth counseling. It also trains schools, teachers, parents and communities to fight verbal and/or sexual abuse as a punishment for bad behavior.

“Our motto is ‘Seek. Reach. Prepare. Equip.’ That’s our goal for the families and people impacted,” Stepphany says.

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