First off, there are wonderful organizations that allow you to buy a practical gift for those in need in someone else's honor or memory. For example, you can purchase a goat, chicks, blankets, livestock, food, etc. for those who so desperately need them. It's hard for us to imagine in our American abundance, but these gifts can literally change people's lives. Samaritan's Purse and World Vision are two organizations that have great gift catalogs for this kind of gift.
If you are in need a gift where your recipient has a little something to open, there are a plethora of organizations or companies that sell a product and the proceeds go to support charitable causes as well. Here are just a few, but if you look online, you'll find even more.
- Bajalia Trading Company sells a variety of items including jewelry, baskets, pillows, throws, stationary, journals, and more. All items are hand crafted by local women (choose a region - China, Afghanistan, India, Turkey or Uganda) and the proceeds go to help them rise above poverty. The organization aids in training and other forms of community development to empower low-income people as they work to improve their lives.
- Cards from Africa has a variety of hand made cards made in Rwanda by families affected by AIDS and genocide. Selling their product helps them to rebuild their lives.
- Saints Coffee - Buy a pound of coffee and feed an orphan for a month! Easy enough...we all know coffee drinkers! This is a fair trade coffee that uses its proceeds to partner with organizations such as Children's Hopechest, a Christian organization that is meeting children's needs and sharing Jesus with them at the same time.
- For the little ones on your shopping list, go take a look at Tiny Rockstar. They have some darling little shirts and buying just one t-shirt feeds a child for an entire month....for as little as $12, you get a t-shirt and help an orphan.
- Punjammies Premium Sleepwear carry lots of comfy PJs....all made by women who have been rescued or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. This organization gives them a rare opportunity to make a new life for themselves.
- Hand and Cloth sells beautiful blankets made by women in Calcutta India who have been rescued from red-light districts. Through creative enterprise and the transforming love of Jesus Christ, this organization seeks to empower women to begin new lives. The blankets are made from recylced sari material (the traditional Indian dress for women). Participants in the ministry receive employment, training, and regular Bible studies.
- Good Paper is a free trade organization that sells greeting cards, handbags, journals and stationary. Good Paper alleviates poverty, helps orphans and socially oppressed peoples in Africa, India and the Philippines.
- Trade As One (Change a life with everything you buy) is an organization whose mission it is to use sustainable business to break cycles of poverty and dependency in the developing world. They have an wide variety of products from coffee, jewelry, scarves, apparel, bags, chocolate, and the list goes on. Everything here is sold fair trade and benefits someone trying to work their way out of poverty.
- Freeset sells t-shirts made by women who have been rescued from the red-light districts in India.
Be sure to share with the rest of us what ways you are giving gifts with purpose this season!