The best gift of all is helping those in need. Ideally we can all find ways to give back throughout the year but during the holidays its especially important to share our own good fortune with others. (While I don’t assume any of us have much disposable income, we are fortunate enough to be reading this on a computer so a few dollars to help others should be doable.)
Personally, I donate to a local food bank and toy fund as well as purchase gifts through our local Giving Tree program for youths who might not otherwise have anything to open under the tree. I also volunteer time to our local school backpack program which send children home from school for the weekend with a bag of ready to eat food. That 30-45 minutes a week fills my heart for the entire year.
There are also hundreds (I’m sure) of organizations from which you purchase gifts that then donate money to various charities. While there are too many for me to find – I encourage you all to look for yourself – here are some great sites to inspire your holiday gift list.
Me to We
When you buy a unique Me to We product every purchase gives a life-changing gift to a child or family in Free The Children’s partner communities, from school supplies to health care to alternative income opportunities and more. Clothes, jewelry, toys, cards, home goods…and more.
Heifer International – It’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. A fantastic opportunity to help feed the world.
Here is a great guide of lovely gifts that give back…thank you Lovelyetc for the curating!
Feed fights hunger selling cute tops, bags and other great gifts: http://www.feedprojects.com
A list of more can be found here….
From the Best Friends Animal Society comes the Best Friends Holiday Catalog of Kindness.
The Nature Conservancy gift store is where you want to be. Pick a gift of nature to honor your friend or family member. Say, adopt an acre in the Northern Rockies, provide a fuel-efficient stove in Africa, or protect some rhinos.
AfricAid works in Tanzania to help children get an education. The organization partners with local schools to help them improve their school rooms, buy school supplies, and help children stay in school.
You can also support literacy efforts around the world by buying books or textbooks from Better World Books. Their Book For Book program provides one donated book for every book bought on their site. Those books flow through nonprofit partners such as Room to Read and Books For Africa.
St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital
What’s not to love about this place? Children and their families go there free of charge and get help for hard-to-treat health problems. Check out the online gift store for a bunch of lovely toys for your own children.
TOMS is famous for one type of unique, super-simple shoe (in a zillion variations), and, for every pair sold, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need somewhere in the world.
GoodShop lets you shop thousands of stores online and designate a portion of your purchase to your choice of its affiliated charities and schools. The cool thing is that you get discounts too. To make it even easier, download the GoodShop app.