608 Franklin Street
Our second location, from 1990-2004
602 Franklin Street
Our location from 2004-2013
627 Franklin Street
Our current location from 2013


The Work of Our Hands is a nonprofit (501c3), retail outlet, supported by volunteers, which markets gifts and crafts made by artisans in developing countries. The products in our store come from artisans living in impoverished circumstances in over forty different countries around the world. Volunteers from many churches and civic organizations in the Pella area, work together to provide an outlet for handicrafts from artisans around the world who would otherwise be unemployed or under-employed.  Our name is taken from Psalm 90:17: "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands." 

 

Statement of Purpose


The Work of Our Hands is a nonprofit retail outlet, supported by volunteers, which markets handicrafts made by poor artisans in developing countries and parts of the United States. Purchasing products through Fair Trade Organizations (FTOs) assures that the artisans receive a fair price for their products.


The Work of Our Hands is an ecumenical Christian mission. It links individuals from various churches and backgrounds within the Pella area in a common concern for the world’s poor. It relies on FTOs working with economically disadvantaged people; helping the poor and hungry support themselves. People of many nations join together in an active venture of love and hope.


The Work of Our Hands is an educational mission. It provides information to volunteers, customers, and the community about the economically disadvantaged artisans and the conditions under which they work and live.



Our History


          The Faculty Benevolent Association (FBA) was a Christian support group formed after Tony Campolo visited Central in 1983 for the Staley Lectures and described his weekly support group, who simplified their lives and pooled resources for projects in Haiti. Using Campolo's words as the model, the FBA sponsored or supported hundreds of projects, often oriented toward Latin America, because many of the members taught in or visited the Central program in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

          In 1989, the FBA started a nonprofit international crafts store in downtown Pella. They raised money from local churches and individuals to fund the startup of The Work of Our Hands, whose purpose is to provide jobs at fair wages for artisans from the poorest countries of the world. The store has been successful because the Pella community has embraced it as a nonprofit ecumenical mission project with volunteers from many Pella churches working every month. As the original members of the FBA began to retire, they disbanded in 2008. Since then, the Work of Our Hands has been run by a store manager, a board, and help from volunteers.

          In 2013, The Work of Our Hands moved to its current location. With an unexpected increase in profit, the store has generously given back to the community by donations to various nonprofit organizations. In addition, since becoming independent, The Work of Our Hands has not only supported artisans by selling products, but also by helping to start shops similar to ours across the country. Our interest-free start-up loans have helped start shops in Orange City, IA; Des Moines, IA; Hickory, NC; Rochester, MN; Mechanicsburg, PA; San Jose, CA; Richmond, VA; Harrisburg, PA; Tucson, AZ; Overland Park, KS and Iowa City, IA. In this way, our efforts have a ripple effect throughout the country.