Don't get me wrong - i LOVE giving gifts. I would actually rather spend all my money on my friends and family then get something for myself. However, while sitting in a sea of full reusable shopping bags, I couldn't shake the fact that i was spending a lot of money. And all for people who were just as fortunate as i am - we all have new, fashionable clothes, and at least one type of Apple product.
But in the spirit of the season, most people are looking for ways to give back - Here are some ways that some of my friends and myself have chosen to give gifts that give back this year:
1. Mocha Club/FashionABLE
Chances are, you've heard me talk about Mocha Club at one point or another. It's a charity that encourages people to give up 2 coffee drinks a month (a $7 per month donation) to help those in need in Africa. This can mean clean water, education, health care, or food and shelter. They also have a retail store that sells everything from hoodies to comedy cd's.
My new favorite sector of Mocha Club is called FashionABLE - they've created sustainable business for women in Africa. The women hand make these scarves, and all of the money goes to them and their community. I've already bought a couple of these for myself, and have a few on the way for Christmas gifts this year.
2. Hatian Creation
If you don't know my roommate, she is moving to Haiti in about 6 months to work with a missions organization for at least 2 years. Her heart is in Haiti, even if her mind isn't already. The other day she posted a link to Hatian Creations, and they have adorable bags for sale. Once again, these are hand made by women, and is creating a good life for them.
If Haiti is on your mind to support, i highly suggest my roommate Ashlee as the recipient of your support - here is here blog if you wanna hear more about her upcoming mission adventure
3. Invisible Children
Most of you have probably heard of Invisible Children - they've been on a mission to free the child soldiers forced to fight in the civil war in Uganda. Many of my friends (including my best friend Ashley!) have been roadies and interns for IC, raising awareness and support. They have all sorts of t shirt type merch, plus they have dvd and hand made bracelets (made by the kids that the dvd's are about). Pretty cool stuff,
4. Tom's Shoes
Tom's Shoes - every hipsters dream. These shoes are mostly cloth, and super trendy. Not to mention, they look great with skinny jeans. The best part about Tom's Shoes, is that for ever pair of shoes you purchase, a second pair is made and donated to a child in need. They call it "one for one" - and i call it awesome.
5. Charity: Water
Clean water. It's such a simple concept to us, but so many people in the world are unable to get clean water in their village. More people die from lack of clean water than war every year. I just learned that Charity: Water has merchandise - cool stuff like phone covers, bracelets, and some hoodies and t's. The organization raises money for villages in third world countries to dig wells; this way the village has access to the clean water they need.
My friends Jonathan and Lindsey are skipping the gift part of Christmas this year - just asking friends and family to help them raise $5,000 to build a well in Africa. They are trying to raise the funds by the end of February. (Did i mention how proud I am of them?)