Be the Change: Peggy Rebol – Thinking Alternatively

Peggy Rebol

Peggy Rebol thinks big and makes her ideas reality. Several years ago, she began looking into alternatives to traditional holiday gift-giving. “I wanted to offer people an opportunity to shop by donating in the name of good,” she says.

Peggy is the ministry coordinator at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Redding. In 2006, she initiated Gifts for Good, an annual holiday fair held at First Methodist the first Sunday of December. “Each year, Gifts for Good transforms the FUMC Social Hall into a three-dimensional snow globe infused with decorations, carolers, craft making, and nonprofit organizations’ tables where gift-givers can shop,” says Melinda Brown, Director of People of Progress in Redding, a participating nonprofit with the fair. “I look forward to the event and to working with Peggy!”

art-1214-btc2Originally, the fair was called The Alternative Christmas Faire. “Three years ago, we changed the name because people didn’t quite know what an ‘alternative Christmas fair’ was. We chose a new title that explains what we try to do … offer gifts for good,” explains Peggy.

Before initiating the fair, Peggy went through the process of deciding how to organize the event. “I Googled ‘alternative Christmas fairs’ and found out what organizations across the country were doing,” she says. “I realized this was something we could offer in our community.” 

Virginia Erickson is craft chairperson, kitchen chairperson, and annual holiday bazaar chairperson at FUMC. She shares, “Peggy is filled with ideas and works tirelessly to implement them … and she incorporates the ideas of others. She is full of energy and is always positive!” Says Melinda, “Peggy has an unusual ability to bring diverse people together and lead them in a common direction while making sure they all have fun.”

The fair offers a holiday experience for the whole family. A minimal entry fee ($2) gives guests the opportunity to enjoy delicious refreshments. Supervised childcare includes children’s craft-making and gives parents the chance to spend time browsing. Adults and older youth create wreathes from fresh greens and other unique natural items and can also make gift tags, ornaments, fleece hats and scarves.

Peggy speaks proudly of the Methodist youth group involved in the fair. On Thanksgiving weekend, the youth participate in “Fudgemania” where they make batches of fudge and bag them in quarter-pound holiday bags to sell at the fair. Last year they earned $750, which they donated to Heifer International, a nonprofit that provides livestock and training to families around the world to help end poverty and hunger while building sustainable communities.

Peggy grew up in Visalia, and went to Occidental College in Los Angeles where she graduated as a biology major. She worked as a medical researcher at UCLA, then returned to the Central Valley as a histologist. For six years she served as a veterinary researcher at the UC Davis Vet Center in Tulare.

art-1214-btc3She and her husband Patrick, married for 28 years, have three adult children. After having children, Peggy returned to school and earned her teaching credential. In 1995, the family moved to Cottonwood, where she began teaching junior high school students. Ultimately, she began her own charter school that served 15 students.

After running the school for six years, Peggy decided to move in a new direction. She closed the school and not long after became FUMC youth director. In 2006 she was appointed ministry coordinator. She now implements programs and coordinates community events such as a community Halloween party, Gifts for Good, and the Whole Earth Watershed Festival (held each April in Redding).

All of this requires the hands of many. Virginia says, “One of Peggy’s greatest strengths is making both youth and adults feel good about themselves and what they are doing. People who work with her always feel appreciated.”

In her free time, Peggy loves hiking, kayaking and water-related sports. She and Patrick are immersed in bike riding, and she enjoys reading and gardening.

While Peggy feels invigorated by many aspects of all the hats she wears, she is currently exploring what her life is about. “I’m chasing purpose,” she reveals. “I love people, and I want to have an impact for good. I’m also aware that the model of being everything for everybody is impossible. I’m learning to balance time for self-giving and care so that I can continue to give to the world.”

To contact Peggy, call (530) 243-2403.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”580″] The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature a community members from the North State who are actively making a difference in community life. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to [/sws_grey_box]

Carolyn Warnemuende
About Carolyn Warnemuende

Author Carolyn Warnemuende has two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives with her husband in Redding. She writes parenting and educational articles, sponsors a school in Uganda, and visits Africa twice a year. She receives great joy in taking daily care of her four-year-old granddaughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.


  1. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with Peggy for a number of years, and her genuine caring and heart for the community never ceases to amaze me. She makes an impact wherever she goes. How nice to see her celebrated here!

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