Charitable Gift Giving

We surf the Web to find good products that help out a great cause.

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Traditional Stockings for Christmas by Bauble Stockings

November 1st, 2022 · Uncategorized

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and I’ve got a great company for you to support because of how much it supports others: Bauble Stockings

I’ve often wondered–when you look at pictures of Christmas fireplaces and see gigantic red and white stockings, were those stockings ever used for practical purposes?

Well, the answer is no. The tradition of hanging stockings by a mantel started with stories of the original Saint Nicholas. Legend has it that when he encountered a family that didn’t want to accept his gifts of charity, he would surreptitiously hide gold coins in places the family wouldn’t suspect, like down a fireplace or inside socks that were placed by the fireplace to dry.

It became a tradition in Europe for children to hang their socks by the fireplace to try, but as this tradition became popular, people started creating special stockings for ornamental purposes (as well as for practical purposes–the bigger the stocking, the more it could be stuffed).

Today, most stockings you’ll find are mass produced out of a factory in China, which kind of takes away a lot of what made stockings special.

That’s why I absolutely love the idea of Bauble Stockings. This is a company established out of Atlanta that produces absolutely gorgeous 100% hand-stitched stockings with festive and beautiful designs. Bauble Stockings is a great example of a company that gives, and gives, and gives, and gives.

The first “give” is to artisans in Haiti who hand-stitch every stocking through an organization called Good Threads Needlepoint, an organization that’s responsible and has brought a lot of good to Haiti in building up local communities by giving them meaningful pay for amazingly meaningful work.

The second “give” is to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, where 5% of the profit of each sale is donated.

The third “give” it to a charity of choice for guest artists who create designs. 10% of profits go to these.

And the fourth “give” is you. You receive a beautiful keepsake that you can hang by your family’s fireplace, or which you can further give to someone else.

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Oprah’s Favorite Compression Leggings

February 22nd, 2022 · Uncategorized

These seamless high-waisted leggings were named by Oprah as one of her favorite things last year. They’re machine washable with a waistband that sits high on the waist and provides a seamless fit.

Reviews say that they provide just the right amount of compression (make sure to order one size up if you don’t want too much compression) and that the fabric, made of 52% nylon, 40% polyester, and 8% spandex, is comfortable. They’re great for workouts and are squat-proof, meaning they won’t stretch, break, or roll down no matter how many squats you do.

They’re made by ICONI, a black-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned business that stands for “I Can Overcome, Nothing’s Impossible”. 10% of their profits are donated to nonprofit organizations that support causes that are important to women such as helping in-crisis and low-income children, supporting social justice, helping victims of domestic violence, and providing food to those in need.

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Book that Supports NYC Restaurant Workers Affected by COVID-19

February 18th, 2022 · Uncategorized

The pandemic has had a big impact on many industries, but perhaps none as much as the restaurant business. It’s not just the restaurant owner that’s impacted when they’re forced to close their doors due to lockdowns. It’s managers, hosts, wait staff, busboys, cooks, back office workers, maintenance staff, and everyone we take for granted that keeps a restaurant going.

Family Meal: Recipes from our Community was conceived as an idea in March 2020 when New York’s restaurants were ordered closed. In an impressive turnaround, it was published as the pandemic was hitting its worst point in May of 2020. Published by Penguin Random House, it collects 50 recipes never published anywhere else from some of the industry’s top chefs, including Ina Garten, Samin Nosrat, Hugh Acheson, Dan Barber, Bobby Flay, Alison Roman, Christina Tosi, Kwame Onwuachi, Ruth Reichl, Claire Saffitz, and Danny Trejo.

Not only are these “secret recipes” from some of the top culinary minds in the world, they’re also easy to make–a criteria that became important during the lockdown. You’ll find basics like stovetop mac and cheese from Deb Perelman (which just uses 7 ingredients–salt, store-bought pasta, butter, flour, milk, black pepper, and cheese)

Based on the Amazon reviews, some recipes are “easier” than others, maybe because some of these celebrity chefs are a little more out of touch than others on how “easy” it is to find certain ingredients. And the audience of the book is decidedly the “New York” audience for obvious reasons–Penguin Random House is based in New York so a lot of their employees probably faced the prospect of having to turn on their stoves and ovens for the first time in their lives.

Because it was produced in the throes of the pandemic the book is available on Kindle only. It costs only $5.99 and 100% of proceeds will help New York’s Restaurant Workers’ Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

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A Card Deck to Help Someone Get In Touch with Their Feelings and Thoughts

February 15th, 2022 · Uncategorized

One of the long-lasting unintended effects of the pandemic and its lockdowns is a rise in mental illness. For everyone that the lockdown “saved” from contracting the COVID-19 virus, one wonders how many more people paid a price in terms of increases in thoughts of suicide and hopelessness, an increase in drug use, and an overall increase in troubles and despair caused by social isolation.

This Card Deck is not just beautiful to look at, it contains insights for people to get in touch with their feelings and most importantly, understand that what they’re feeling may not be a good reflection of reality. The cards are split into 5 sections, with 10 cards each: Let’s Talk, Mood Boost, Real talk, Get Grounded, and In Community. They help intercept the downward spiral of unhealthy thoughts that can come about in isolation with positive and practical advice or encouragement.

A portion of the proceeds supports a cohort of girls at Prismatic, a movement to inspire hope in the next generation.

It’s available directly from Bando, the manufacturer, or at a retailer like Anthropologie.

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Heart-shaped puzzles that support Every Mother Counts

February 4th, 2022 · Uncategorized

These are beautiful heart-shaped jigsaw puzzles that you can customize with any photo, whether it’s a photo of a mother with her baby, a family photo, or even a cherished drawing from your child. All you need to do is provide Minted with a copy of the photo you wish to turn into the puzzle, and they’ll send you the puzzle pieces in a beautiful hinged box in a muslin drawstring pouch.

You can choose the puzzle pieces to come in different sizes depending on who in your family will be doing the puzzle. For toddlers, you can have 12 big pieces. For young children, you can have the puzzle come in 60 pieces. Or for a puzzle the whole family can work on together you can have it come in 252 pieces.

Profits from the sale of this puzzle go to help Every Mother Counts, the charity founded by Christy Turlington in 2010 following the release of her documentary No Woman No Cry, which brought attention to the hundreds and thousands of women around the world who were dying in childbirth because they lacked access to basic maternity care that we take for granted.

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Salami Bouquets

January 28th, 2022 · Uncategorized

For Valentine’s Day this year, instead of giving the same old flower bouquet, why not shake it up a little with this amazing salami bouquet.

Created by Olympia Provisions and sold on Food52, this unique gift puts together an assortment of three or six salami sausages, wrapped together in butcher’s paper and a bright red bow and packaged in a sturdy red box perfect for gift giving.

The salami’s aren’t your Oscar Mayer variety. They’re high quality salamis from France, Spain, and Italy (for the three-sausage bouquet) and from Italy, France, Spain, and Greece (for the six-salami bouquet). And the nice thing about salami is that assuming you don’t wolf it down right away, it’s shelf-stable and will last for a long, long time…much longer than those boring old flowers.

Every purchase goes to help the All For Farmers Coalition, an organization started by Tillamook and American Farmland Trust which helps farmers in need and which works to secure our food supply for generations to come.

(And yes, you should also probably send some flowers as well…if you want to avoid ending up like the salami yourself).

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Hand-crafted bouquets by mail that helps the New York Botanical Garden

January 25th, 2022 · Uncategorized

New York City is probably best known for its skyscrapers, traffic jams, sidewalks covered with litter, and subway tunnels populated by rats. But something that people don’t realize is that the five boroughs of Manhattan are some of the world’s most impressive botanical gardens. They’re literally an oasis that a urbanite weary of the hustle and bustle of the city can escape to.

Every botanical garden in NYC has a distinct personality, reflecting the borough it’s in. The Queens Botanical Garden is smaller and cozier. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is my personal favorite with its cherry tree groves, rose gardens, and Japanese tea garden. But the biggest and most famous botanical garden in New York is in the Bronx–the New York Botanical Garden. It covers the most space and has the most impressive displays, from its annual orchid show the the jaw-dropping winter train show.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that all of these garden aren’t just for show. They’re doing serious research and work in plant conservation and science.

Not everyone has $840 to pay for a present, but if you do–and if you’re shopping for someone who loves beauty and the natural world and who perhaps lives in a space that would benefit from displaying beautiful flowers every month–this is one of the most amazing presents you can give. It’s a subscription to a monthly hand-crafted bouquet from BloomsyBox.

While you can buy bouquets from companies like ProFlowers, 1-800-Flowers, and FTD, I honestly wouldn’t trust any of them with something like a monthly subscription product. Especially around times like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day the quality from these companies goes down as they literally scrape the bottom of the barrel to find flowers to sell.

Bloomsybox has a different approach. Every month they reserve flowers in a subscription box that’s unique and stunningly beautiful. This NYBG Subscription product is one of their finest. Each month they’ll send a hand-crafted bouquet in a box, along with a special-edition collectable postcard with an illustration from NYBG’s library. A percentage of every purchase goes to help the NYBG.

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Friendship Bracelets that help Women’s and Children’s Causes

January 21st, 2022 · Uncategorized

These friendship braces were #7 on Oprah’s list of gifts that give back to charity. They’re friendship bracelets that come in a wide range of colors and styles, all beautiful without being too ostentatious, sort of like a good friendship.

It comes in one of seven styles, each with a unique medallion accent, braided cord, and tassels. You can choose from a number of different colors and styles to reflect your unique friendship from a bold black glass to a delicate pink quartz to elegant mother of pearl white to a classic crystal, a multicolored stone to symbolize a multifaceted friendship.

20% of the proceeds from every purchase goes to help woman and youth charities.

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BOBS shoes that help Shelter Dogs and Cats

January 18th, 2022 · Uncategorized

BOBS shoes from Skechers are among the most comfortable shoes you’ll come across. This slip-on clog is a good example–it’s lined with faux-fur (polyester fleece) to keep your feet warm and cozy, and the insole is made from Skechers memory foam for good comfort and support.

This is one of many shoes in the Bobs for Dogs line. From now until December 31, 2022 25 cents of any BOBS shoe, clothing, and accessory that’s specially marked will go to help dogs, cats, and other pets in America’s shelters.

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Key Necklace that Helps People Transitioning Out of Homelessness

January 14th, 2022 · Uncategorized

The Giving Keys is company based on an amazing idea. Here’s how it works.

First, you purchase a beautiful piece of jewelry from them. As you can probably tell by their name their signature design is a charm shaped like a key. They have keys in the classic familiar shapes you’ve used all your life for your front door, your garage door, your cabinets, your office. They also have classic shapes like crosses or pendants.

On each piece they’ll imprint a word, like BELIEVE, CREATE, DREAM, FAITH, FEARLESS, HOPE, INSPIRE, LET GO, LOVE, STRENGTH or any custom word you’d like.

The idea is to buy a key with “your word”. If you’re in a dark period of your life, maybe your word will be “FAITH” or “HOPE”. If you’ve gone through a bad breakup, maybe that word is “LET GO”. If you’re going through a time of bad health, the word might be “STRENGTH”. And so on.

When I was going through tough times emotionally my sister turned me on to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). In a nutshell, CBT is all about recognizing that certain ways of thinking are faulty or unhealthy and certain patterns of learned behavior can result in a downward spiral. Part of the work that a patient and a therapist do is to recognize those patterns and stop them before they grow out of control.

What I love about these necklaces is that they can serve as a constant reminder to you to break out of those patterns. If you’re feeling hopeless, or fearful, or faithless, or devoid of love, just glance down at the word around your neck and remember that yes, there is hope, there is nothing to fear, there is someone watching over you, and your life is more filled with love than you realize–love you’re getting and love you can give.

A necklace cannot “cure” you, of course. But it can be part of a healthy reminder to keep perspective, and once you’ve persevered, to pass that perspective to others.

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