Gifts that Help to Give Back
Giving Back while Giving Gifts: A Win-Win Situation
It's no secret that worldwide economic, political and environmental events mean that there are more people and places in need. One positive side effect is that many organizations have stepped up to make it easier for all of us to help others while also giving gifts to friends, family and co-workers. Sure, you could give the usual Starbucks or ITunes gift card or... you could spend the same $10 and help save a child's life. You could pick up treats from the store down the street or... you could order online where 35% of your purchase goes to help the homeless. And don't forget about the added benefits: You'll feel good, your friend will get a special present that they can feel good about, and you'll be DOING good in the process.
Photo courtesy of Ken's Oven on Flickr.
Bead for Life Jewelry
Bead for Life is an incredible organization that started when two women from Colorado met a Ugandan woman who was rolling paper beads near her home. After learning there was no place for the woman to sell her beads and that her only income was made by crushing rocks in the hot sun all day, the Americans bought a few beads and took them back to Colorado. When their friends began clamoring for the beads, they realized that not only could they develop a market for the colorful beads, but also help the plight of the women back in Uganda. The result is Bead for Life - a beautiful line of necklaces, bracelets and earrings - all incredibly made from recycled paper. The group has also recently expanded into making shea butter products.
And talk about gifts that give back. Since that chance meeting in 2004, Bead for Life has helped over 800 women learn to make beads and earn a regular income, built 132 homes, two wells and abundant gardens, launched a vocational education program for poor youth and inspired more than 85 similar organizations.
Any of the Bead for Life products would make beautiful gifts, even more so knowing what an impact they're making in the developing world. In addition, for this holiday season they have teamed up with Equal Exchange and created gift sets that will benefit women in Uganda and the Congo. Visit www.beadforlifestore.org or click on the link.
Here's a short video about how the beads are made.
Orvis is a brand that has truly stood the test of time. It has been making outdoor clothing, hunting and fishing gear and home accessories for over 100 years. It also is committed to the environment and actively supports conservation efforts by donating 5% of their pre-tax profits to qualified organizations. Their current campaigns are working to help environmental causes from the Florida Everglades to the Coral Triangle.
Visit the Orvis Store to pick up items, such as their best-selling men's Signature Sweatshirt, for everyone on your gift list.
Adopt an Elephant
Yes, you read that correctly. You can adopt an elephant for your friend or loved one through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Fostering Program. This conservation organization, founded in 1977, helps save the lives of elephants and rhinos who are orphaned when their mothers are killed, mainly for their tusks. You may have seen the group featured in Disney's 2011 release "Born to Be Wild," narrated by Morgan Freeman.
I received this as a gift from my best friend last Christmas and it is one I enjoyed the entire year. In addition to helping the vital work of the Sheldrick Foundation, for a minimum $50 donation your giftee will receive a fostering certificate with a profile and photograph of your elephant, a map showing where the orphan was found, a monthly watercolor and updates on your orphan as well as the other elephants in the program.
Nothing But Nets Donation
Nothing but Nets has a simple motto: Send a Net, Save a Life. Make a donation to Nothing But Nets in honor of a friend or loved one, and you'll both have the chance to save a child from malaria. While we in the West think of malaria as something so foreign, the reality is that a child dies from the disease every 45 seconds. This can be easily prevented through the use of an insecticide treated malaria net. For just $10 each, Nothing but Nets (part of the UN Foundation) is able to purchase, send and teach the recipient how to use one. Amazing. They'll even send an e-card to the honoree.
This is a great gift for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. In fact, I first learned about this organization from a friend of my daughter's who asked people to make a donation in lieu of birthday gifts for her.
CamelBak Groove Water Bottle
Most of the developed world takes for granted the availability of clean drinking water. All we have to do is turn on the tap and there it is. But for nearly a billion people around the world (that's one in 8) access to water is severely limited or nonexistent.
But you can do something to help while checking another gift off your holiday list by purchasing the Limited Edition CamelBak Groove Bottle. $10 from every bottle purchased supports the Water.org mission to find clean water solutions for developing countries. The 20 oz. bottles are available in stainless steel or BPA free plastic.
You can order your bottles through the Water.org site or follow the Amazon links below.
M-A-C Viva Glam Melt Your Heart Set
M-A-C is one of the only make-up lines that I use and has been for years. Not only do I love the colors and packaging, but it's one of the only lines of lipstick that doesn't cause an allergic reaction for me.
In 1994, the M-A-C AIDS Fund started the Viva Glam line to support men, women and children living with AIDS/HIV around the world. The 2011 line was inspired by the incomparable Lady Gaga, while 2014 features Rihanna.. You can buy them individually, or track down the Melt Your Heart Set includes pink and nude lipsticks with a rocking red metallic make-up bag. The $36 set is available at M-A-C, Nordstrom, Macy's and other stores around the country, or click on the link to buy directly from the M-A-C store.
EVERY CENT of the sales price of Viva Glam lipstick and lipglass is donated to the M-A-C AIDS fund.
Lucky Brand "Suzani" Medallion Bracelet
For nearly 50 years, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has been working to find cures and prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases. It truly is a pioneer in the field of pediatric research and treatment. You can help their mission by purchasing this beautiful medallion bracelet which has been custom made for St. Jude's. The Lucky Brand "Suzani" bracelet has an antique gold finish, with the organization's logo on the back, and comes in a velvet gift bag. Pick up the matching earrings and ring for a complete set.
Want to do more to help St. Judes?
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital has an online shop brimming with gifts for everyone on your list, including the kids. Some of the items start at just $2.99! Why not give hope while giving gifts?
Visit St. Jude's Hope Gift Book today.
More Gifts that Help to Give Back
There are so many worthy causes out there I thought I'd provide a few more links that can help you give back while you gift.
Tom's, the popular maker of shoes and eyewear, was started with a simple goal to "create a better tomorrow by taking compassionate action today." With that in mind, for every pair of shoes and/or eyewear purchased, they will donate another one to a p
- Dancing Deer Baking Company
Sweets and treats are always popular gifts , and the Dancing Deer Baking Company helps you give back at the same time. Through their partnership with One Family, Inc. Dancing Deer gives back 35% of their retail sales to help end family homelessness.
Since 2004, the LIVESTRONG Foundation has helped raise more than $80 million to help fight cancer. You can help, too, when you shop their collection of men's workout gear.