Living simply is important to me. I also love to give gifts. I reconcile this by giving ethical presents whenever possible. You know what I mean, purchases that help out a worthy organization. You can often buy such gifts at your local museum, house of worship, or any non-profit knowing that a portion of the sale price helps to benefit that institution. You can also extend holiday goodwill by scooping up any of the following do-gooder gifts.
The mission of SERRV is “to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.”
A wide range of gifts are available, including home decor and holiday items. Pictured are the $19 Arte Cobre earrings, $22 carved Peruvian gourd ornament, $15 beaded Fireworks cuff, and $10 raindrop bud vase.
Wounded Warrior Project provides programs of direct benefit to injured service members. Support the project with the purchase of a t-shirt (item shown is $22.99), embossed journal, survival strap, or other gear.
For each CamelBak Better Bottle purchased, $10 goes to support the efforts of Water.org. This organization provides sustainable water solutions for some of the billion people who currently lack clean drinking water.
This bottle is BPA free, has a built-in filter, and costs $35.
Other products available include energy bars, popcorn tins, and dark chocolate.
Xeko eco-adventure series games help kids learn about biodiversity. Trading cards that also function as game cards, these sets come in “county” packs such as China, Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Madagascar. Each purchase benefits Conservation International.
Games are $14.54, add-on packs are $3.99.
This Limited Edition Shemergency Kit sells for $25. It may be the ultimate portable gift for the woman who has everything. It contains 25 solutions for personal care and fashion emergencies such as folding hair brush, mirror, earring backs, nail clipper, mending kit, stain remover, pain reliever, tampon, and tissues. Ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of this kit will be donated to breast cancer research.
Darfur refugees playing soccer with a ball made of trash tied with string were the inspiration for the development of a ball so durable it could be used anywhere. One World Futbol is an all-terrain ball specially designed for adverse conditions. It requires no pump and will remain inflated even if punctured. It also self-adjusts to variations in altitude and temperature. For every purchase of a $39.50 One World Futbol, an identical ball will be donated to a refugee camp, war zone, or other community in need.
Freewaters is working to improve the living standards of people without clean drinking water through their direct-cause initiative, ProjectFreewaters. Their site notes that each year “more people die from the consequences of unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. Dirty water and a lack of proper hygiene kills 3,300,000 people annually, most of them children. At Freewaters we believe access to clean water is a basic human right.”
Each pair of slippers provides a person in need with safe drinking water for a full year. Slippers shown $25, t-shirt $25.
Support public radio while browsing through a wealth of games, gardening items, green gifts, music, books, puzzles, and more.
Binary clock $25
Shut The Box game $24.99
Ten Thousand Villages has been creating fair trade opportunities for artisans in the developing world since the mid 1940’s. They offer unique handmade products from dozens of countries, with proceeds providing a living wage.
Enjoy using the mini or full-sized version of this rugged solar-charged flashlight, knowing that BoGo Light will donate another. In the developing world, the average family spends up to 30 percent of their income on light (kerosene lanterns, candles, battery-powered lights). The batteries in each BoGo Light last for 750 to 1,000 nights of use at an average of six to eight hours per use. These lights are particularly valuable in remote healthcare settings. BoGo Light encourages you to choose what program you’d like your light donation to benefit.
Mini size $29.99, full size $59.
EverythingHappy is a family-run company offering face-shaped blankets. What’s even more unique is that the concept was dreamed up by the family’s seven-year-old son, David Holdridge. David wanted to combine his little sisters’ favorite things: stuffed animals and blankets. Now 12 designs are available in several sizes. For each blanket purchased, another goes to a child in the U.S. or around the world, often to hospitals and orphanages.
Prices start at $20 for an 18″ x 18″ blanket.
Purchase blankets, comforters, sheets, quilts, throws, or pillows from Blanket America and the same item is given to someone in need in the U.S. or Haiti. The founders’ goal is giving a million blankets to the needy in the U.S.
The cotton and bamboo blankets shown come in your choice of six colors, and sell for $44.99.
Toms has been in the forefront of the one for one movement, giving away a pair of shoes for each pair purchased since 2006. So far they have distributed over a million pairs to children in need around the world. They encourage all sorts of customer collaboration, like pledging to go a day without shoes, becoming an agent of change, or sharing theirdocumentary. Now Toms has a new campaign, buy a pair of sunglasses and give the gift of sight to a person in need.
For prescription glasses (even a monacle) go directly to Warby Parker. The company is named after character appearing in Jack Kerouac’s personal journals. The founders see the world through a different lens too. Warby Parker crafts fashion-forward, reasonably priced glasses. For every pair you buy, a free pair or vision care will be provided to someone in need either in the U.S. or developing world. More than a billion people worldwide don’t have access to proper vision care, but this company is working to change that frame by frame.
ASPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals, rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws, support shelters, and educate the public on animal. Gifts available include t-shirts, jewelry, books, and pet toys.
Consider Funkitty Twist N’ Treat $5.99
or Hide A Squirrel $19.99
ORBIS flying eye hospital travels with an onboard operating room and training facilities, bringing eye care professionals all over the world. Each year they restore sight to thousands of people.
Now L’Occitane offers naturalshea butter soap in the shape of airplanes with 100 percent of profits donated to ORBIS. Choose a pink or blue bar, 3.5 ounce, for $6.