Christmas is the season of giving. This year, I don’t know about you but I would like to make the dollars I spend count. One way to do that is to buy through organizations that give back. Obviously these choices are not perfect for everyone on your list, but where it makes sense it is nice to find gifts that also give something back to those in need. Here are some of our favorite choices.
By now, most of us know that for each pair of Toms you purchase, Toms gives one pair of shoes to a child in need. But, what I didn’t know is that Toms has expanded its mission. Now Toms also sells eyewear and bags and makes a similar promise. For each pair of eyewear purchased, Toms restores the vision of a person in need. And, each bag purchase equals a safe birth for a mother and baby in need. You can’t argue with that.
FEED was founded in 2007 with a seemingly simple mission – to provide nutritious school lunches to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them. Each FEED product has a number stamped on it that signifies the amount of meals or micronutrient packets provided with its purchase. The product style ranges from simple totes to products created by artisans from Columbia, Guatemala, Haiti, India and Kenya. Through the sale of these artisan-made products, FEED provides meals in the countries where the items were produced, closing the loop on our investment in these communities
Warby Parker’s eyewear is vintage inspired, with a modern edge. It started with an innovative website that allowed for virtual “try-ons” of glasses and at home try-ons of up to five glasses frames. Those of us in San Francisco are lucky that Warby Parker has a storefront in Hayes Valley where customers can come in and try on a wide range of glasses and eyewear in person. Best of all, for every one pair of eyewear sold, Warby Parker donates one pair of glasses to someone in need.
GlassyBaby is one of our favorite stops for gifts. It makes beautiful votive candle holders in every color you can imagine and 10% of every GlassyBaby sale goes to a charitable organization. Each color represents a specific cause. The organizations range in size and scope and include local organizations such as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, to other organizations that are new to me such as Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Stop into the shop on Union Street; in addition to crossing people off your shopping list, you may also find one or two items for yourself.
These organizations are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking for more “Gifts that Give Back,” take a look at shopwithmeaning.org or latchcompany.com. This year, there is no excuse for not making your dollars count.