On the blog for the past year, we’ve been trying to highlights various humanitarian organizations that are focused on doing good in this world. A lot of times we think we can’t be part of helping those in need because we don’t see immediate needs around us, but with so many amazing non-profits worldwide, the ability to give back and to help those in need has never been greater!
Truth is, while this is called a conscious gift giving guide, intended for this Christmas season, these are gifts that are perfect to give year-round. And as you will notice, there are different ways to give with these items/organizations I’m suggesting: some are products you can purchase for yourself or a friend, some are ongoing sponsorships you can do throughout the year and others are ones that are specifically focused on gift giving during the holiday season.
So let’s just jump right into it!
1. Child Sponsorship
Ever since I was a little girl, child sponsorship has been something that I was exposed to, thanks to my parents. We always had a couple children’s pictures on our refrigerator that we had never met, yet we knew that our monthly donations provided food, access to doctors we as well as education. This had a profound impact on me and once I was married, we quickly adopted the same practice and decided to sponsor not one, not two but three kids! Over the years, as the children have grown, all of them have graduated the programs and we’ve acquired new children to sponsor. Just recently, we decided that we would like this blog to officially sponsor a child and so I’d like to introduce you to Nathanaelle. She lives in Haiti and is part of one of the World Vision projects. Actually below that picture is another girl that we sponsor from Haiti named Daphne. We had the privilege of meeting her when we were in Haiti back in 2009, working with an organization that feed thousands of children weekly.
Child sponsorship is something I’m such a big believer in because I’ve seen with my own eyes how profoundly it impacts not only the child that is being sponsored but their entire family and often times, their community. Many of these children live in such poverty where they have no access to food, clean water, medical supplies let alone education. When an organization like World Vision comes into a community, it changes that community forever. For just over a tax-deductible dollar a day, you can change help change a community.
Also, be sure to check out the amazing gift catalog that World Vision has put out this year. If you don’t think you can commit to an entire year of child sponsorship, perhaps consider giving a one-time gift and purchasing something through the catalog. From providing blankets to school supplies to even animals and clean water, the options are endless for how you can give and help make a difference this Christmas.
2. Boots for Those in Need
If you prefer the idea of buying a physical gift for yourself or someone you know, why not make it a gift that will give back, like boots from ROMA. I love how ROMA states their mission on their site: “ROMA Boots merges fashion with philanthropy to give poverty the boot.” YES! So good! And such a practical gift to give someone, knowing that a child in this world will also receive a pair of durable footwear through World Vision.
What I love even more about ROMA is how fashionable their designs are, especially this special edition WONDER boot. This is a collaboration between ROMA and Lionsgate and is designed specifically for children to help spread the message of kindness. We are still planning on letting our kids watch the movie but for now, they are pretty excited to have their own pair of “space boots” as my youngest likes to call them and they already understand that their boots are helping other kids worldwide in need.
3. Dolls with a Purpose
Along the similar lines of gifts that give back like the ROMA boots are the cuddle + kind dolls. We featured these earlier this year and so many people kept asking about them that I wanted to talk about them once again. BONUS there’s also a GIVEAWAY down below to win a doll, so make sure you enter!
cuddle + kind are ethically produced, hand knit dolls that help feed children in need. For every doll that is purchase, 10 meals are given throughout North, Central and South America, parts of Africa, Europe and Asia! The dolls themselves are the cutest things ever…so cute in fact, that the last one I ordered, I ordered just for myself and she sits in our main living room! Yup, a 34 year old woman has a stuffed doll on display…that’s how NICE they are!
These are one of those gifts that are perfect year round, for birthday parties, baby showers and for just because moments. These are the kind of dolls that can be handed down to new generations knowing great impact was made with a simple doll!
4. Christmas Shoeboxes
I couldn’t make a list like this and not include Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. While I know it’s too late for this Christmas to give, it truly never is too late to give online and also plan for next years boxes! Similarly to World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, the founding organization of the shoeboxes, has an online catalogue filled with practical gifts that can help those most in need around the world.
We’ve been packing shoeboxes with our kids every year since they were born. We’ve adopted the idea that we pack one box for each kid we have…so every Christmas now, we pack three total. The kids absolutely LOVE going to the store and picking out a bunch of their favorite items to stuff into those boxes. Everything from toys to stationery to hygiene products, it’s such a great way for your kids to get involved in understanding how they can help others their age.
You can find a list of all the items that are safe to put inside boxes (there are regulations as these are being shipped worldwide) as well as all the information about finding drop off centres in your local communities. I love the idea of having a shoebox in your home that you start to fill throughout the year, being intentional about every time that goes into it!
We packed our boxes so quickly this year that I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures! So I asked my uncle who used to be a field director for Samaritan’s Purse and got the great privilege to hand out these boxes to kids in East Africa for a couple pictures, so these are his!
5. On-Trend Jewelry
We featured Just One Jewelry as the first in our humanitarian series earlier this year and we still absolutely love their designs and their purpose. All the pieces of jewelry are made in Uganda by local artisans and then Just One comes in and purchases them at a fair trade cost, helping the artisans earn a fair wage. A portion of each sale also goes back into that community to help further benefit the local artists and their families.
These are also great gifts throughout the year. So next time you are thinking of getting your friend some accessories, instead of heading to the mall to shop at some big boxed store, head online and shop these amazing pieces, knowing your dollar is going further to impact lives in Africa!
Well my friends, this feels like such a short list, really, considering all the AMAZING organizations out there. I hope to feature many more this coming year on the blog.
But I wanted to cap 2017 off by sharing some of these organizations that are near and dear to my heart because I truly believe that we can ALL make a difference, big or small. We don’t have to get on a plane and head to Africa and in all of these cases, you really don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home by shopping online! So this Christmas and truly this coming year, think about shopping consciously — seeking out brands and organizations that are dedicated to giving back and ultimately helping rid this world of poverty once and for all!
I’m SO excited to have teamed up with cuddle + kind to give away a large doll of your choice! This giveaway is open to both Canada and US (yay) and all you have to do is COMMENT below which doll is your favorite from their collection! That’s it! This contest will be open from Dec. 20th – 22nd, 2017 and the winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Note: Doll will be shipped after Christmas. GOOD LUCK!
Love & Blessings,