Gifts That Give Back

I love giving gifts. I love thinking about people and who they are and what they love and then finding something special that shows that I see them. I get them. I like them.

One thing I don’t love, though, is the level of excess and consumption that seems to go hand in hand with Christmas. I’m all about gifts. We have Christmas because someone came to earth to give us every good and perfect gift. Gifts are a wonderful part of the celebration. But I’m tired of the stuff. I”m tired of the plastic. I’m tired of the big box stores and the lines of cranky people and the purchasing of things that don’t matter from companies that treat people like they don’t matter.

Ok. Ok. Stepping off the soap box. This is a happy post!

There are so many amazing organizations in the world today that are working to employ single moms, bring clean drinking waters to third world countries, and create safe working environments for impoverished communities. These companies are the boots on the ground effort to create real change in our world. Lucky for us, many charities today also sell great products that allow us to come along side them and partner with their organization and support their work.

This year, consider supporting one of these great charities by purchasing one of their many great products that will delight your family and help meet the needs of others.  

cuddle and kind – They make beautiful hand-knit dolls that help feed children. For every cuddle+kind doll sold, they give 10 meals to children in need. We plan on getting Beatrice a cuddle and kind doll for her gift! Right now, if you buy two dolls, they will send you two free prints as well and 30 kids will receive meals!

feed – I’m obsessed with this company and their bags and I can’t wait to be a part of what they do. At feed, every purchase goes to providing meals to kids. The bags are produced under fair labor conditions using environmentally friendly materials.

love your melon – You guys. This org! I have so much love for Love Your Melon. I love what they do. I love their story. I love their beanies.

Love Your Melon was founded in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota by two friends, Zach and Brian. On a mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer since October 22nd, 2012, Love Your Melon began with the simple idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America.

After achieving the original goal of donating 45,000 hats— one for every child battling cancer in America — Love Your Melon set a new goal of donating one million dollars to pediatric cancer research and providing immediate support to children and their families.

Fifty Percent (50%) of net proceeds from the sale of all Love Your Melon products are donated to Love Your Melon’s nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer. Our partners work in the field of pediatric oncology, fund cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families of children battling cancer.

To date, they have donated over 1.5 million dollars and over 80,000 hats!

A21 – Christian Cain and her work at A21 hold a very special place in my heart. A21 is an org that works to prevent sex trafficking through education. They work to protect rescued victims through their restoration programs. They bring justice by helping prosecute convicted sex traffickers. And they partner with people (like us!) to make this all possible. It’s and awesome, awesome org and they have some great products that we can purchase to help support their cause.

aruna project – Similarly, the Aruna Project works to bring freedom to the enslaved in India. They offer employment to those who have stepped into freedom in order to sustain their freedom and restore the liberating power of choice.

naja – I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS COMPANY! The idea is genius and their panties are gorgeous. (Did I not mention they sell panties?) I love everything about this idea and even if I have to purchase them myself, you better believe I plan on supporting Naja this holiday season.

Naja makes undies, which, at first, you might think is a weird way to support women…Or is it the PERFECT way to support women? Naja’s garment factory primarily employs single mothers or female heads of households where they are paid above market wages with healthcare benefits. The brand chose to aid single mothers, because many have to choose between working and caring for their children. At Naja, they’ve implemented flexible work policies that make it easier for women to balance work and childcare. Every child of a Naja garment worker receives books, school supplies, uniforms and all school meals paid by Naja.

Also, ladies, these panties are just straight up bonkers cool. Need.

pebble child – All Pebble products are made by Hathay Bunano. Hathay Bunano, meaning hand made or hand knitted in Bangla, is a non-profit fair trade organization in Bangladesh. It’s mission is to create fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women who are poor and often disadvantaged.

bull and moose – Talk about one swanky business that makes one swanky product. This veteran owned business also helps fund micro loans for disadvantaged men in North America. They are in the market to make guys look good while doing good.

giving keys – The Giving Keys exists to employ those transitioning out of homelessness in Los Angeles to make key necklaces and other jewelry out of repurposed keys.

raven and lily – A fair trade jewelry, clothing, accessories and gifts handmade with naturally dyed fabrics and locally-sourced, eco-friendly materials.

charity water – a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Have a friend or family member who doesn’t need/want anything? Make a donation in their name!

world wildlife fund – If you are like me and have kids who love lions and tiger and bears – oh my! – why not “adopt” an endangered species? It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in learning more about how to become good stewards of our earth. Every symbolic adoption comes with a certificate, stuffed animal, and photo.

sackcloth and ashes – a company that makes gorgeous blankets, will donate one to YOUR local homeless shelter. The Sackcloth and Ashes story is heartbreaking and touching. The founder was inspired to help the homeless when his mother, a hardworking single mother, found herself homeless in 2013. Motivated to help, he started calling homeless shelters in his area to ask what they needed. They all said blankets.

roma boots – So Roma means love, how cool is that? Roma Boots merges fashion with philanthropy to give poverty “the boot.”Their mission is to bring impoverished children throughout the world hope, love, and lasting change through aid and education.For every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need. Additionally, ten percent of all proceeds funds educational initiatives around the world. Roma was founded in 2010 by Samuel Bistrian, who wanted to combine his love of fashion and philanthropy to help children in his home country of Romania.

thistle farms – Until I started reasearching orgs for this post, I had never heard of Thistle Farms. But now that I’ve read about this special place I can’t stop thinking about it. What an amazing thing founder, Becca Stevens, has created.

Thistle Farms is a sanctuary for healing for women survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking and prostitution. We are a community of survivors, advocates, employees, interns, volunteers, and friends from all across the world. We are young and old, women and men. We want to change a culture that still allows human beings to be bought and sold. We believe that in the end, love is the strongest force for change in the world. The women of Thistle Farms have developed guidelines for living that describe practical ways we can love one another without prejudice or judgment. Influenced by the Benedictine Rule, our programs are grounded in 24 simple principles about living gracefully in community.


That’s a wrap!

I look forward to supporting some of these special businesses and the incredible work they are doing to change our world. What other organizations are out there that I missed? Do you plan on purchasing “gifts that give” this year?


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