Eagle nonprofit hires refugees to make Mother's Day cards for Wal-Mart

Statesman staffMarch 20, 2014 

Full Circle Exchange, a nonprofit based in Eagle, has hired more than 60 local refugees to make a special line of Mother's Day greeting cards for Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

The proceeds will support "the aim of women's self-sufficiency and breaking the cycles of poverty around the world," according to a news release.

Full Circle Exchange works with women and women-owned businesses in several countries to make home decor, accessories, gifts and food for sale at Wal-Mart, Macy's and other retailers. While it was founded in Idaho, this is the first time the Full Circle Exchange has worked with local refugees.

For this project, refugees will make 150,000 Mother's Day cards in Boise. The nonprofit also will work with women's groups in other countries to make an additional 250,000 cards.

The cards will be designed by an Idaho artist, Melody Ross, and will be signed by the women who made them, according to the release.

"This is an exciting chance for us to put our model of transforming the lives of women and families to work right here in Idaho — by providing fresh opportunities to our vibrant refugee community," said Mark Priddy, co-founder and CEO of Full Circle Exchange.

It took 10 days to hire the refugees for the project, said Tara Wolfson, regional employment coordinator with the Idaho Office for Refugees, which offers free staffing services to employers.

"Working for Full Circle and making Mother's Day cards has given me healing and hope and a way to provide for my family. This opportunity came at exactly the right moment," said Nidaa Azeez, who arrived in Boise from Iraq last summer.

The Van Auker Co. donated work-space for the project, Priddy said.

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