Charitable Gift Giving

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

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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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T-Shirts with Famous Book Covers

January 7th, 2022 · Uncategorized

Since 2010, Out of Print has had a mission to spread the joy of reading by featuring classic and popular book covers and putting them on clothes, accessories, and office accessories.

If you love to read, you need to visit their Amazon store or their Web site. You’ll find old classics like the iconic Great Gatsby cover by Francis Cugat.

Or newer classics like Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie.

Out of Print Women's Classic Children's Book-Themed Scoop Neck Tee T-Shirt

Each T-Shirt helps fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need around the world. To date, they’ve donated over 5 million books and supported countless literary initiatives in communities that need them the most. Literacy can transform a local neighborhood across town or across the world, and you can do your part by buying some of these products and more importantly, donating directly to them.

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Baby Socks that Help Charity

December 30th, 2021 · Uncategorized

If there’s one gift that every parent of a newborn needs, it’s baby socks. Thin ones, thick ones, ones with rubber things on the soles, long ones, short ones, cute ones, colorful ones, and more. It’s a gift that is both practical while letting you express how much you care. Your gift recipient will think fondly of you every time they slip the socks onto their baby.

You could go to your local Carter’s, pay 25 cents for a pair of socks, and throw them in an old shoebox. But that sentiment would be worth about as much as you paid for the socks.

Or you could buy socks from Sticky Be Socks. They have a wide selection of socks of many styles and colors, all packaged beautifully in an attractive presentation box that makes a perfect gift for a baby shower or newborn baby.

As the name implies, each pair of socks is no-slip, which is perfect especially as baby grows older and starts to crawl, walk, or run on your hardwood or linoleum floors. The little rubbery grips help keep the little one stable and the socks themselves are made of the highest quality materials.

The company was founded by Nancy Giftos, a Pilates and yoga instructor. Her company develops socks not just for babies, but for grown-ups too (yes, we can slip and fall too).

What I love about the baby socks is that for every pair sold, a pair is also donated to Baby2Baby, a non-profit organization that provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing, and basic necessities. To date, they have donated over 200 million items to families in need.

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The reBoard Cutting Board

December 19th, 2021 · Uncategorized

The reBoard is an example of a simple idea that just gives, and gives, and gives some more.

The product, made by Material Kitchen, is a colorful, BPA-free cutting board. But this is no ordinary cutting board. The design is beautiful and simple and comes in one of six stylish colors–not the gaudy color you see in your local Target or Walmart, but subdued and modern colors that show off your sense of style. The cutting surface is strong and has received rave reviews from Bon Appetit, USA Today, Epicurious, and many more.

It’s made of a combination of 75% recycled plastic and 25% renewable sugarcane, so instead of buying something from a factory around the world churning out endless runs of plastic that will be destined for landfills, you’ll be buying something that’s both sustainable and much high quality.

Here’s the coolest thing. As if saving the planet weren’t enough, a portion of your purchase price will go to help Heart of Dinner, a New York City-based charity that was started during the pandemic to help elderly, low-income Asian Americans combat hunger and isolation; and Drive Change, another New York City-based charity that helps young people who were formerly incarcerated to get a new chance on life by introducing them to culinary jobs.

Buy one at Material Kitchen, or save $20 and buy three that you can use to separate meat from vegetables and fruit .

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Save the Bees – Honeybee Awareness Gifts

December 1st, 2021 · Uncategorized

Bees get kind of a bad rap. While wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and killer (Africanized) bees tend to be aggressive, their distant cousin the honey bee just kind of wants to be left alone, doing their job of going from flower to flower spreading pollen and making honey and wax. In fact, without pollinators like honeybees and bumblebees, flowers would never turn into fruit and vegetables. So it’s not hyberbole to say that we owe our very existence as a species to them.

Contrary to what a lot of people thing, honey bees are not aggressive. They’ll sting if they feel threatened, or especially if they are defending their hive. But if they’re just flying around you trying to figure out if you’re a flower, just close your eyes and wait it out and the bee will figure it out and leave eventually (assuming you’re not sitting on their hive).

Something a lot of people don’t know is that in the winter of 2006-2007, something catastrophic happened. Beekeepers noticed that 30%-90% of the honeybee hives they were maintaining suddenly collapsed. Generally, the queen bee survived, as well as the young bees (brood), and the colonies still maintained honey and pollen at the time of their collapse. But the worker bees just sort of vanished. And without worker bees, eventually the hives were doomed.

This phenomenon is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and to this date there’s no simple explanation for why it happens. It’s likely a combination of many things–increased use of certain pesticides, introduction of various pathogens, loss of habitat, and other factors. Since 2014, the federal government has funded research. But it’s an uphill battle.

But the most powerful person who can affect change? It’s YOU. If you have a backyard, plant flowers or vegetables to attract bees and butterflies. Or if you can’t, donate to an organization that does. Lobby your local government to plant public gardens that attract pollinators. Discourage the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides that people are using to keep their lawns green and weed-free, but that are deadly to honeybees. And SPREAD THE WORD, just as those honeybees spread pollen.

Here are some amazing gifts that can help.

Honey Bee Enamel Pin ($12.50) – This is a beautiful enamel pin that you can pin onto a shirt, blouse, or bag that’s beautiful but also a conversation starter.

$1 of the proceeds will go to help The Bee Conservancy, which was established in 2009 after the catastrophic collapse to help protect and preserve populations of bees. Visit their site for eye-opening information. For example, did you know that 1 in every three bites of the food you eat are pollinated by bees?

Crochet keychain of a bee ($15.00) – This is one of those oh-so-cute gifts that’ll put a smile on anyone’s face. It’s a crocheted, handmade keychain that’s about 3 inches long. Perfect for pinning onto a purse or backpack.

15% of proceeds goes to the Bee Girl Organization, a non-profit founded by Sarah Red-Laird aimed at educating and inspiring commuities to conserve bees, flowers, and food.

Save the Bees Yoga headband ($12.99) – Want to really show off your love of bees?

Try this Save the Bees headband by the appropriately-named Mandabees, one of the most popular makers of yoga headbands that, in the words of founder Amanda, keep hair back, keep sweat off your face, are oh-so-cute, and which don’t give you a headache.

A portion of proceeds will go to the Cielito Lindo Ranch’s efforts to save honeybees.

Charity Wild Flower Bee Buffet ($5.00) – Here’s a great idea for a gift where not only the proceeds will help save the honeybees, the gift itself will too. It’s a packet of custom blend wildflower seeds that you or your recipient can plant in a yard to attract bees. It’s a way to help restore the habit that was lost with development, as well as provide a little oasis for bees from pesticides.

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Elephant Charm Necklace

November 19th, 2021 · Uncategorized

These necklaces with elephant charms are perfect for the elephant fan in your life. The designs are simple and at the same time adorable. They’re handmade out of California by Danna Valko who has an entire store filled with amazing and original charm designs.

A portion of proceeds for each necklace sold goes to Wildlife SOS, a non-profit organization in India that was established in 1995 to rescue and rehabilitate India’s wildlife, including leopards, bears, and of course, elephants. They have been on the forefront of eradicating cruel practices such as “dancing bears”.

These necklaces are handmade using sterling silver and gold, and can be personalized with the name or initials of one of 22 elephants that Wildlife SOS has saved.

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Walt Disney World 50th Anniverary Books

October 16th, 2021 · Uncategorized

As Disney World celebrates its 50th Anniversary, Disney Editions has released a few amazing books to commemorate the occasion.

Art of Coloring Walt Disney World: 100 images of detailed coloring pages. While it’s technically an “adult coloring book”, kids of all ages who can color within the lines will enjoy it. In addition to typical coloring book art, it features concept art, posters, and maps from over the years. It was put together by Kevin Kern of the Walt Disney Archives.

Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World: This is the latest in a series of books called “Delicious Disney” which highlights recipes from Disney resorts and theme parks. This volume explores the history of food at Disney World since 1971, and provides lots of recipes so you can create them at home.

Best thing about it, if you buy these books from Shop Disney between October 1 and December 31, 2021, Disney will donate a book to First Book, a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged children with books and supplies.

(A third book, A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of the Most Magical Place on Earth, doesn’t seem to be available at ShopDisney at the moment, but you can find it on Amazon).

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