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13 Gifts That Give Back

4 December 2013

It’s the season for gifting, and I love it. I love giving and receiving. I love the thoughtful purchase, the loving home-mades, the useful gift cards. I love finding that perfect thing, and I love it when a craft or recipe or idea comes together. I love the anticipation, and I love genuinely happy faces.

The only way to make it all even better is to give gifts that give back. Gifts that get shared with someone across the country, or around the world. Gifts that come with a story, and leave joy in their wake. So I’ve assembled a baker’s dozen of my favorites.

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There are a lot of companies that give a small percentage of their proceeds to charity, and they are awesome because they don’t have to do that but they choose to. Then there are companies that produce things solely for the benefit of their workers or their beneficiaries. I tend to lean toward the later.

So here we go: 13 Awesome Gifts That Give Back

The Hoot – Krochet Kids – $26

Krochet Kids makes hats (and bags and apparel and accessories and prints) for the whole family, for great prices. Krochet Kids works with women in Northern Uganda and Peru, providing a job, an education, and mentorship to each one.

Each hat is signed – on the inside of the tag – by the woman who made it. I dig that.
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Gift 2-2PeaceBomb Bangle Set – PeaceBomb – $20/45

I can’t get over these things. I found them a couple years ago, and haven’t been able to come up with a reason to buy them for myself yet. (But I’m working on it!)

There is still a lot of scrap metal in the fields of Laos from the Vietnam War, and still lots of unexploded munitions. These bangles, and other jewelry items from PeaceBomb, are made from recycled bomb metal, and the proceeds fund the safe removal of unexploded bombs from Laos fields. 

Gift 3 31 BitsDolly Glam – 31 Bits – $36

31 Bits works with women in Uganda, providing jobs, counseling, health care, finance training, and business mentorships. Women graduate after five years as strong, empowered businesswomen.

Necklaces, bracelets, wedding accessories, bags, etc. They have a huge selection!
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Gift 5 HilltribersUpcycled Burlap Coffee Bag Tote – Hill Country Hill Tribers – $28

Hill Tribers is a collective of Burmese refugees who are working as artisans to earn extra income. Jewelry, scarves and bags have helped more than 30 refugee women provide for their families since 2009.
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Gift 4 PunjammiesAamani Punjammies – International Princess Project – $35

Sari-inspired pajama pants (full-length, capri, and shorts) made by women in India who have been rescued from the sex slave trade.

The International Princess Project started in 2005, and has grown to over 150 women and girls in three centers throughout India. People who deal with trafficking victims all agree that unless people are trained in another profession, poverty will usually drive them back to pimps and brothels.

Gift 6 Nomi NetworkEveryday Large Tote – Nomi Network – $40

Made from recycled rice bags in Cambodia, these bags are part of The Nomi Network‘s strategy to provide job training and life skills to women and girls in impoverished areas, who are targets of human trafficking.

They have a great selection of bags, accessories, shirts (for the whole family), and Christmas ornaments for really good prices.
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Gift 7 Stone + ClothThe Benson – Stone + Cloth – $138

Stone + Cloth works with The Knock Foundation in Tanzania to provide scholarships to children who cannot afford an education.

Okay, I admit there isn’t much info on how much of their proceeds go to The Knock Foundation, but these bags are cool …
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Gift 8 Kohl'sPeanuts Classics Gift Set – Kohl’s – $5

Zero hipster points for this one, but I’m all about kids’ books. And 100% of the profits support children’s health and education projects in communities across the country.
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Gift 9 KitePencil Pack – KITE – $10

This is a one-for-one deal. Every pack sold means a pack for a child in need in Maryland or Kenya.

KITE is pretty new at this game, but they’re about using the one-for-one model to provide school supplies to kids who need them. Know a writer, doodler, or teacher with a philanthropist side? Here you go.

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Gift 10 Raven and LilyUzma Sketchbook: Curry Feather – Raven & Lily – $14

Raven & Lily works with women in Cambodia, India, Ethiopia and the U.S. to provide fair wages for quality products, to help break the cycle of poverty. All of their stuff is hand-made, fair trade, and eco-friendly.

Proceeds from this particular collection are funding literacy programs for women and their children in northern India.
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Gift 11-2 LSTNBeech Wood Troubadours – LSTN – $150

LSTN makes three styles of headphones – including earbuds – from reclaimed and recycled wood – beech, cherry and ebony. These things are beautiful.

And with each purchase, LSTN helps restore the hearing of one hearing-impaired person around the world, through the Starkey Hearing Foundation (which has a four star rating with Charity Navigator).
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Gift 12 Laughing ManLaughing Man Coffee (and Tea)

There are a lot of fair-trade coffee roasters available, and I like several of them.

This one was founded by Hugh Jackman. Which is an amusing factoid to me.

50% of their revenue goes to training entrepreneurs around the world, as a part of their umbrella organization, Laughing Man Worldwide.

Gift 13 RepatT-Shirt Quilt In a Box – Project Repat – $80-150

You place an order, send them your old t-shirts, and they make a blanket out of them. (My mother’s a quilter. These aren’t technically quilts.)

Project Repat works with three organizations here in the U.S. to provide job training to people with disabilities and opportunities to downsized textile workers.

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There you have it. Some of my tops, but definitely not all of the ways you can give a gift that gives back this Christmas. If you have a favorite, leave us a link in the comments! (And if your comment doesn’t post immediately, it’s just because links sometimes get caught by spam filters. I’ll approve it as soon as I can.)

jmm_babyson_mountainBaby Son – John Mark McMillan – FREE

Bonus for you if you read this far – John Mark McMillan (don’t roll your eyes at me, the man is brilliant) wrote a new Christmas song that you can download for FREE. (Well, for your email address …)

You can leave a tip, though, and 100% of it will support World Vision’s relief efforts in the Philippines. So go ahead. Get a little something for yourself … and the Philippines.

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