Gifts That Give Back

5:01:00 PM

One of my favorite gifts of all time was when my aunt donated mosquito nets on my behalf.  This year, since I am now fortunate enough to have a paycheck, I hope to give gifts that serve double duty.  Here's a list of some incredible options that are beautiful both in physicality and meaning.

1) Heifer International.  Heifer International gifts are more than just charity: they are sustainable.  Rather than just giving food, they give cattle, sheep, camels, or goats which can produce food long term for consumption and for sale.
2) Oxfam International.  Oxfam is committed to long-term solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.  Gifts such as mosquito nets and water jugs may not seem like much but they vastly improve public health initiatives.
3) World Bicycle Relief. This amazing organization works in two ways: it makes sustainable bicycles and sells them (at a reasonable price) to those in need of affordable transportation.  By purchasing goods from their store, you can help fund their incredible project.  Check out the store here.
4. TOMS Marketplace.  TOMS shoes and sunglasses are well known, but have you heard of the new TOMS Marketplace? It's a place for social entrepreneurs to raise awareness and sell their goods.  I love this bracelet, hat, and table runner.  You can also shop by cause and region.
5. Kiva.  Kiva is a fantastic non-profit organization that uses the internet to help microfinance individuals around the world.  You can give a loan for as little as $25 to help businesses grow and support education.
6. Thistle FarmsThistle Farms is part of Magdalene, a residential program in Nashville, TN for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.  Thistle Farms is a job training program through Magdalene that allows women to gain experience in manufacturing, packaging, marketing and sales, and administration. Purchases of Thistle Farms products directly benefit the women who make them.
7. Proud Mary.   Proud Mary works with global artisans in the developing world to create beautiful accessories and home goods. All of their fabrics are produced in collaboration with textile artisans using traditional methods of weaving and printing. Their artisans are paid a fair wage for their work.  I love their beautiful pillows and bags!
8. Far & Wide Collective. Far & Wide Collective partners with extremely talented artisans from post-conflict and emerging economies. Their goods are on the pricer side, but they are beautiful and support amazing talents from across the globe.
9. 31Bits. The 31Bits model is to empower people by selling their products in the fashion industry.  Their products are ethically made in Uganda. All of the jewelry from 31Bits is stunning and beautifully crafted.
10.Accompany. This amazing company scours the globe to look for beautiful, handmade, ethically sourced products.  Many of their products are associated with some pretty incredible humanitarian initiatives. 

I hope you liked this list of gifts that give back.  If you can't financially support a good cause, you can also give your time: volunteer at a local pet shelter or a soup kitchen, organize a food drive at your school or office, or donate your gently used clothes.

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