Gifts That Give Back

Christine's December 2017 Newsletter

Every year in December, I love to dedicate my newsletter to “Gifts that Give Back” and this year is no exception! Christmas is especially significant; gift giving, family getting together, Christmas dinner, and the feelings of love and joy are even more vivid this time of year. When gifting, I think it is even more significant when your gift is impacting another, and so I started sharing my ideas with you, my readers! How awesome is it when we can give back to those who may not have as much as us in a season of giving!

Here are a few gifts I’ve found that were unique and memorable to me. I hope you find them just as special as I did.

SOAP CO.

The Soap Co. aims to create products “which are good and do good”, employing people who are blind, disabled or disadvantaged to make their soap-based products and putting all their profits back into the business. So although they don’t “donate” to a charity, their entire business model is providing opportunity to those individuals that would otherwise may not have that chance. You can learn about the impact they make here on the page about the people that make their products possible.

All their products are made in the UK, paraben free and are never tested on animals. They have a selection of 5 different fragrances and all collections are eco-friendly; all are available as a hand wash or hand lotion – but their new collection also includes body wash and body lotion. They even have a special collection for Christmas. You can find that online by clicking here.


PHILOSOPHY

Any Philosophy product purchase that you make actually goes toward the greater good thanks to its Hope & Grace Initiative. The brand has made a commitment to support women’s mental health care, with one percent of all net product sales going to community-based mental health efforts. I really believe this is an important cause and think it’s amazing that all purchases go toward this, and not just a select few.

For Christmas, they have some of their bestselling skin-care products in one set – “Glowing all the Way”. But Philosophy doesn’t just have skin-care products, they have fragrance, bath & body, and even makeup, so any beauty purchase you make, you know your purchase will be giving back to support woman’s mental health care.


GOOD CUBED

There is another beauty company I love that gives back part of all purchases made to their company. This Company is called Good Cubed. This company was founded by a husband and wife team and are life-long animal lovers so their mission is to give animals a greater voice while connecting consumers with beauty products that are 100% cruelty free. So not only are all the products on their site cruelty free, over 60% of their products are completely vegan.

They have a variety of beauty products on their site that are all environmentally conscious. Check out this Vegan Lipstick Fundamental by Axiology. This is a great color for most skin tones and it is made of all natural ingredients. It even has elderberry extract and sweet orange oil in it! And the best part? 1% of all purchases go to the Beagle Freedom Project, and will help save as many Beagles from laboratories as possible so that they may be given a chance at life.


FIRE DEPOT COFFEE

I love a good cup of coffee, and it’s hard to find a good, smooth bean. I love that Fire Depot Coffee is made by Firefighters and Military personnel. Direct from their website: “if there’s one thing we learned during our years in the military and the fire service, it’s that a good cup of coffee and a well-timed jolt of caffeine are essential for long nights and high-octane lifestyles.”

They have a Christmas Blend that is described as smelling like “Christmas morning” – who wouldn’t want to drink that? And, they even have Bourbon, Rum, and Tequila-Infused Coffees. Every order is fresh roasted, meaning they are small-batch roasted to order, it isn’t sitting around forever; these are fresh beans! And a portion of every order goes to support firefighter and military charities. It’s great coffee for a great cause. You can check out their charities page to find out how they are helping take care of our nation’s heroes through their organization.


GOOD SPREAD LIFESAVING PEANUT BUTTER

I love what this next company is doing. Good Spread’s Unsweetened Probiotic Peanut Butter is USDA organic, no sugar added, Ganeden BC30 Probiotic mixed in! (GREAT for your digestive health!), super creamy and smooth, sustainably sourced, and Non-GMO. Now before you ask “how can I give this as a gift?” What kid doesn’t like peanut butter? This is a great stocking stuffer! And it’s healthy and tastes great! This is my absolute favorite, but if you are looking for something else, they have other lifesaving flavors available (hint, there’s chocolate).

What is so great about this product (aside from the amazing health benefits)? When you buy a jar of Lifesaving Peanut Butter, you provide Lifesaving MANA (a ready-to-use Therapeutic Food – fortified, peanut butter-based medicine) to a malnourished child. The effects are lifesaving. In less than 6 weeks, 96% of children are completely cured. Simple and magical, just like peanut butter. You can even track your impact!


BLOOM & GIVE

At Bloom & Give, their mission is simple: Girls Education Matters – and yes, I believe it certainly does! In developing countries like India, education is the most effective way for a girl to escape the cycle of childhood marriage, pre-teen pregnancy, and abuse. Bloom & Give donates 50% of their profits to programs that send girls to school. That means 10 – 20% of your purchase goes towards two different programs that they donate towards, one of which targets entire village communities, and the other that directly fund schools. You can learn more about how they give online here.

Every cook needs an apron! Why not buy one that will send a girl to school? This apron is hand-woven and even comes with its own gift bag and card. They are made from scratch and beautiful. If the special cook in your life already has an apron, you can check out these beautiful chef’s towels. They get softer with each wash, and you know when you’re baking all those Christmas goodies, things are bound to get a bit messy =)


FREE THE CHILDREN

This charity is close to my heart because I work with them directly with The Jonathon D Fischer Foundation, and I have seen first-hand the impact they have on the communities they serve. Free The Children has a way to give directly to the WE charity, or shop by the different collaborations they have put together. You can even track your impact after you give to the organization on their website. How incredible is that?!

They have a holiday gift guide that has gifts for every budget. Every gift in this catalogue empowers a child, family or entire community with the tools and resources to create a better life. By giving gifts of impact and intention this holiday season, you can help break the cycle of poverty. You can shop the ME to WE holiday gift guide online here.


THE ETHICAL SILK COMPANY

The Ethical Silk Company has a variety of silk products, from sleep masks to robes. All silk used by The Ethical Silk Company is Ahimsa peace silk, a 100% eco-friendly mulberry silk, supplied by Ahimsa Silks. You can find out more about their eco-friendly silk here.

What I love about their products and this company (and the reason why they made my list this year) is not only are they eco-friendly, but they give back to not only one, but TWO organizations! You can read about how they give back from the Social Responsibility section on the about us page of their website: “On one trip to India, I visited the Jeevan Jyothi AIDS Centre in Theni. Having seen the tireless work carried out by the staff, I decided to pledge 5% company profits to the centre. Focus Ireland, a charity that works to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness, also receive 5% company profits.”

To see all products, and to order from their website, you can shop their website online here.


WORLD VISION

The next group of gifts that made my list are all beautifully handcrafted by World Vision. Each gift purchased includes a card explaining how that gift will help children and families around the world. All proceeds benefit World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization which partners with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

There are so many gifts from jewelry to coffee, and you know that your money is going to a great cause, benefiting children and families in need all over the world. You can find these gifts online by clicking here.


SONGA DESIGNS

I came across these beautiful necklaces that are very unique. Each one is different; no two are the same. These necklaces are sold on songadesigns.com – ‘Songa’ means ‘the path forward’ in Swahili. All of the designs are handcrafted by women in Rwanda. It is typical for many women in under-resourced countries to depend solely on their husbands for financial needs. The mission of Songa is to create independence through steady employment where the women can earn money on their own, so each design the women make furthers them along the path of financial independence.

Designs can take a woman between 3 – 5 days to create depending on how intricate the weave is. Songa’s designs are created using carefully selected natural materials that are locally sourced and eco-friendly. This particular design pictured is called the Arabella Choker and many others can be found on their website here.


SUDHARA

The last on my list is definitely not the least! They are Punjammies Pants by Sudhara. I love a pair of comfy pajama pants, and these pajamas are as comfortable as they are stylish. They have a loose fit and are 100-percent rayon fabric. Each pair is made proudly in India by women working to forge a new path, free from sex slavery.

From the website: “Our punjammies inspired by the beauty, colors and textures seen throughout the local culture and are crafted by brave women in the community who wish to remain free from the trade they escaped,”

You can find these punjammies on their website, and other products by clicking here.


If you are traveling this holiday season, and want to dine out at a local restaurant that is socially responsible and gives back to their community, check out this awesome article I found that lists out these amazing restaurants all over the United States that do some incredible philanthropic work and give back! (Don’t miss slide #3, Homegirl Café, right here in Los Angeles, that empowers at-risk local women to leave gang life, build professional expertise and receive other service from legal aid to GED prep!)

If you aren’t looking to buy a gift that gives back to charity, and want to simply donate directly to a great cause, here are a handful of amazing charities that I have worked directly with and rely on the support of donations to continue their incredible work:

Sick Kids Foundation:

Their vision is simple: Healthier Children. A Better World. “We believe fighting for the health and wellbeing of children is one of the most powerful ways to improve society.” You can learn more about them here.

You can donate directly to them by going to their donate page here.

Thorn:

“We join forces with the sharpest minds from tech, non-profit, government and law enforcement. We work to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material and stand up to child traffickers. We’re also uncovering new kinds of abuse, and fighting those too.” You can learn more about them here.

You can donate directly to them by going to their donate page here.

Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides:

“Lions Foundation of Canada’s mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost.” You can learn more about them here.

You can donate directly to them by going to their donate page here.

The Dream Center:

“The Dream Center is a faith-based charitable organization that finds and fills the needs of struggling people from all over the United States. Since 1995, thousands of individuals and families have found hope and healing through the programs that only the Dream Center offers. The Dream Center aims to not only meet the immediate needs of communities like providing food and clothing, but also focuses on the full successful transformation of people’s lives, all free of charge.” You can learn more about them here.

You can donate directly to them by going to their donate page here.


The blessings of peace,
The beauty of hope,
The spirit of love,
The comfort of faith

May this be your gifts this Christmas season.

Christine

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