AHH, the holiday season! However you celebrate the season, whether it’s Hanukah, Kwanza, or Christmas, it’s supposed to be a happy and cheerful time. If you are anything like me, it has become a very busy and stressful time, filled with baking, sending cards or letters, and my least favorite: shopping for gifts.
For me, Christmas and the holiday season have become too commercialized. The spirit of the season is often lost in a rush to find just the right gift. I love gifts that come from the heart and have a lot of thought put into them. Wouldn’t it be great to find a place that had just the right gift, from the heart AND keeps the spirit of the holiday season by helping someone in need? Well, I have scoured the internet and found great websites that can help you do just that!
WORLD VISION: http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=11621
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization which helps children, families and communities worldwide work their way out of poverty and injustice. They are in nearly 100 countries.
Through World Vision, you can buy gifts for the person who truly has everything. For example, with $100, you can purchase a goat and 2 chickens for someone in need. A card can be sent to you or your honoree describing the gift you gave in their name, which can also be personalized. Other examples include: 5 ducks for $35, or $350 in medicine for $35, and much more.
The following organizations offer similar programs:
Covenant House: This is an organization dedicated to helping homeless youth. Through this program you can buy a homeless youth food, clothing, or a warm bed. Thanks to a generous donor, from now until December 31, 2013, your donation and gift will be matched.
Oxfam America: https://www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/?gclid=CIqHwMvulrsCFaTm7Aod2wwAwQ
Samaritan’s Purse: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/gift-catalog/give/?utm_source=Ggl&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=m_YS4G-14XB_GGLCATChristmas&gclid=CI_1jL2Ql7sCFTEV7Aod_V4AKg
Plan USA (Helps children around the world) http://www.planusa.org/giftsofhope/search.php
THE GIFT OF GIVING: http://www.thegiftofgiving.com/
The Gift of Giving’s mission is to introduce a gift idea that truly makes a difference. This site puts a new twist on the traditional gift card. Here’s how it works:
“You purchase the gift card, you decide how you would like it delivered, and the recipient chooses a charity significant to them. You’ll feel good giving a meaningful gift, and the recipient feels good by making a difference.”
Global Giving has a similar program. http://www.globalgiving.org/gifts/
As wonderful as all of these programs are, you might be asking “Can’t I buy a something for someone, say a purse or headphones AND help someone in need?” I asked that same question and the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, the list of companies and organizations is quite long. Since space is limited, I will tell you about my favorites and a few of the lesser known companies.
GLOBAL GIRLFRIEND: http://www.globalgirlfriend.com/store/ggf/site
Their logo is “Women made. Fair Trade. Start small. Dream big. Change lives.” Each item you buy helps fund a seed money micro-grant through Camfed (Campaign for Female Education). This money will help a woman in Africa start a small business to support herself and her family. Items include but are not limited to: purses, jewelry, dresses, handmade paper and clothing.
Woman’s Bean Project, http://www.womensbeanproject.com/, has a similar program. They employ impoverished women and help them restore their lives.
Global Goods Partners, http://www.globalgoodspartners.org/template/index.cfm, is a beautiful site with beautiful, handmade products. Their mission is similar: help women in marginalized communities around the world
LSTN HEADPHONES: http://www.lstnheadphones.com/
This site makes headphone and ear buds out of reclaimed wood. (They are beautiful!) Proceeds from the sale of these headphones go to help the Starkey Hearing Foundation, who works to restore hearing to a person in need.
T-SHIRT QUILT IN A BOX: http://www.projectrepat.com/collections/t-shirt-quilt-blanket/products/t-shirt-quilt-blanket-box-gift
This is one of my favorites. With this program, you mail your old t-shirts to them and they turn them into a quilt. They employ people who earn a fair living wage. One of the companies they use is a non-profit organization who trains people with disabilities. They can guarantee your quilt in time for Christmas if it is ordered by December 13, 2013. Their prices are very reasonable and more than ½ the price of other companies who do similar work.
Well, I could go on. There are many other places, companies and organizations that offer gifts or items for sale that in turn help someone in need. Check out some of the places I’ve mentioned here or simply google “gifts that give back to charity”.
I can’t end this blog without mentioning Constellation Federal Credit Union’s very own program of “gifts that give back.” This year, we are selling tea, lotion, candles and recipe calendars with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. Ask one of our Member Service Representatives for more details. Happy shopping and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!