Living simply is important to me. I also love to give gifts. I reconcile this by giving ethical presents whenever possible.
There are ways to make do-gooder gifts fun as well as meaningful. There are also ways to get as well as give. I’m talking about buy-one give-one offers. You purchase a gift for someone on your list and a similar gift goes to others in need, wonderfully extending your holiday goodwill. Consider the following as you make purchases, now and well beyond this festive season.
Darfur refugees who played soccer using a ball made of trash tied with twine were the inspiration for the
development of a ball so durable that it could be used anywhere. The One World Futbol is an all-terrain ball specially designed for adverse conditions. It requires no pump and will remain inflated even if punctured. It also self-adjusts to variations in altitude and temperature. For every One World Futbol purchased, an identical ball will be donated to a community in need such as refugee camp or war zone. One World Futbol underscores the essential nature of play.
Buy a pair of Toms shoes, another pair goes to a child who has no shoes. Toms has given over a million pairs of shoes to children in need around the world since 2006. They encourage greater customer collaboration, from pledging to go a day without shoes to volunteering for shoe donation events. Their shoes are not only casual and comfortable, they’re also the catalyst for a movement.
Enjoy using the mini or full-sized version of this rugged solar-charged flashlight, knowing that BoGo Light will donate
another. In the developing world, the average family spends up to 30 percent of their income on light (kerosene lanterns, candles, battery-powered lights). The batteries in each BoGo Light last for 750 to 1,000 nights of use at an average of six to eight hours per use. These lights are particularly valuable in remote healthcare settings. BoGo Light encourages you to choose what program you’d like your light donation to benefit.
Purchase blankets, sheets or pillows from Blanket America and an in-kind donation is given to someone in need in the U.S. or Haiti. The founders’ goal is giving a million blankets to the needy in the U.S.
Warby Parker is named after characters that appear in Jack Kerouac’s personal journals. The founders tend to see the world through a different lens as well. Warby Parker crafts fashion-forward, reasonably priced glasses. They even offer a monocle. Plus for every pair of frames you buy from Warby Parker, a free pair of eyeglasses will be provided to someone in need in the US or the developing world through RestoringVision.org. More than 500 million people around the world don’t have access to proper vision care, but this company is working to change that frame by frame.
Ties and Bowties
For every custom-designed tie or bowtie you buy from Figs, a school uniform will be donated, enabling a child to attend school. This provides greater educational opportunities, because in many parts of Africa a school uniform is required but the cost is beyond a family’s ability to pay.
Happy Blankie is a family-run company offering face-shaped blankets. What’s even more unique is that the Happy
Blankie concept was dreamed up by the family’s seven-year-old son, David Holdridge. David wanted to combine his little sisters’ favorite things: stuffed animals and blankets. Now four animal faces are available in several sizes. For each blanket purchased, another goes to a child in the U.S. or around the world, often to hospitals and orphanages.
Water.org is offering a BPA free, water bottle, the CamelBak Better Bottle. This isn’t a traditional BOGO deal, but 100 percent of the profits from these bottles goes to provide sustainable water solutions for some of the billion people who currently lack clean drinking water.
Women’s boots made of natural rubber and lined with cotton are already a find. Roma Boots kicks that deal way up. When you buy a pair, they donate a pair of boots to a child living in a cold or wet climate, primarily street children and orphans. The comapny plans to donate boots to 100,000 children by 2012.