One of our good friends, Sarah, in our small group was telling me this year about her conviction to be giving gifts that give back. Unfortunately, at the time of hearing about this, we had already bought many of our gifts, but it is such a clever idea, I wanted to at least provide some resources to you for consideration.
The basic idea, and I have loved seeing this trend, is to leverage everyday capitalism to help meet social needs. Instead of depending on donations, there has been an upsurge of businesses with non-profit-like missions that provide legitimate goods and services, but utilize the profit to invest in righting social wrongs.
Here are a few that my friend had found. If you know of others, please comment with a link and description.
1. Tom’s Shoes
I have two pairs of these and I can honestly say they are the most comfortable shoes I own. Not only are these great shoes though, for every shoe bought, another pair of shoes is given to kids without shoes all over the world. Started in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie after traveling to Argentina and seeing how many kids didn’t have shoes, it is now a multi-million dollar charitable business serving the needs of hundreds of thousands of kids all over the world.
2. Soap Hope – This is a place where you can buy soap and other bath products, and instead of using the profit for expansion and marketing, the profits are invested in a number of charities targeting women in poverty.
3. Bajalia – This is more of a hub site to where you can purchase direct from the individual makers of various products world wide.
These bracelets and other jewelery products go to help support a non-profit fighting against sex-trafficking in China. So, if you do happen to be looking for jewelry this year for Christmas, I would check this out before going to Zales.
5. Eternal Threads – These are scarves for sale serving to help impoverished and trafficked women all over Asia.
6. 10,000 Villages – Fair Trade online store connecting original vendors and artisans directly to consumers.
7. World of Good – Even Ebay is using their online breadth to help people give gifts that give back.
8. Punjammies – Punjammies are pajamas actually made by women who have been rescued from sex trafficking and go to support their shelter and ministry.
Although these aren’t necessarily businesses, you can purchase some of their gear and help support two great non-profits.
There are a lot of options out there and I’m sure I’ve only touched the surface with this list, but what I think is cool about these gift ideas is that you can combine giving and caring for the poor and the needy and buying presents for friends all in one action. It might be a little late, but if there are still some gifts that need to be bought, consider buying gifts that give back.