October 29, 2014 by taralynnehall
A few years ago, my siblings and I made the decision to forego our traditional Christmas gifts in favor of choosing to purchase a sustainable project through WorldHelp. That year, we contributed to a family’s survival instead of gathering more “things” in our home.
Now, anyone who knows me well will tell you that I LOVE Christmas presents. I love giving presents, I love receiving presents…I just love the whole thing. However, for Christmas this year, I am requesting that instead of normal, material gifts under my tree, my family and friends find a way to help someone else—whether it is through a charitable donation, a purchase that benefits someone other than a shop owner or CEO, or an offer of time.
For example, WorldHelp offers the opportunity to sponsor a child, or purchase sustainable items (like livestock, sewing machines, and educational opportunities) that support communities around the world in need. Convoy of Hope is another organization that I sincerely believe in, and I have seen them work first hand. They are a humanitarian-relief organization based here in Springfield, MO, and they also do community events where they provide food, basic health care, and even job assistance for people in need. Cherish Kids is another local organization that focuses on raising awareness, offering resources, and providing support to kids and families involved in the foster care system in our area, which is an area that weighs heavily on my heart each and every day. I personally volunteer at Dickerson Park Zoo, and I believe in the conservation education value that zoos have. They have several ways to help financially, including Adopt an Animal, purchasing a zoo membership, or a simple online donation.
If you would rather have something to actually wrap, there are a few organizations that I am particularly fond of that sell products in order to further their mission. Here are a few of those:
WorldHelp has a “Merchandise” section, where you can buy hand-crafted items and the proceeds go back into the organization. (I love the hand-carved nativity!)
The Starfish Project – The Starfish Project sells beautiful jewelry, but don’t let the shiny exterior fool you. The jewelry business provides hope to exploited women in Asia by providing alternative employment and a range of opportunities for women to “heal and grow through counseling, vocational training, language acquisition, family education grants and health care access, as well as providing housing in our women’s shelter.”
TOMS– In addition to selling their own shoes, eyewear, and coffee (and giving back shoes, eye care, and water to communities that need them), TOMS hosts a marketplace of other social good companies. The marketplace has products that support a variety of causes in several regions, and they are all beautiful and all support worthy causes.
Obviously, nobody is limited to just this list. There are hundreds of organizations that seek to help others, and I would be happy with any gift from just about any of them.