Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gifts That Give 2014

I started this in 2011 when I started my blog. It’s a list for Black Friday of Christmas gifts that give three ways: to the recipient who gets a gift, to a charity who gets a donation and to the giver who feels good for giving to charity. Since then a new tradition has started with Giving Tuesday. After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, spend some time Tuesday giving to the charity of your choice.

Now, here goes: the list of $50 and under gifts that give three ways for 2014.

1.       As a Relay for Life lover, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one from the American Cancer Society’s website and almost everybody needs help with this—eating right to be healthy and prevent all kinds of cancer and other diseases. So, here’s the link to ACS’s healthy eating cookbook for $24.95.

2.      This is a new to me charity—Women’s Bean Project. It gives jobs to jobless women making gourmet foods. Started with $500 of beans, it’s grown to include all kinds of food, like salsa, rubs, soup and baking mixes. The Tea for Two gift basket has two handpainted ceramic mugs, The Denver Tea Room Cream Scone Mix, Ceylon Pearl Chai Black Tea and a 4 oz. Jar of Seedless Raspberry Preserves for $39.00.

3.      Hope the Butterfly Tutu from Everything Happy. How can you go wrong with a tutu for a little girl. True, I was a tomboy, but maybe if someone had given me one of these, I wouldn’t have been! For every Happy product purchased, another one is given to a child in need, so feel happy and buy blankets, toys, clothes and more through Everything Happy.

4.      For a bevy of t-shirts, check out You and Who. They sell one-of-a-kind designer t-shirts that help worthy causes in cities across the country. Every time they sell a shirt, they give the same shirt to someone in need. Right now, their t-shirts are on sale for $15 apiece, too! All of the shirts also have a heart, yeah, a real looking one, on its sleeve, too.

5.      I have featured Sevenly t-shirts in this list before, because I love them (though they do run a little small just to let you know). Sevenly gives $7 to a different charity each week when you buy a shirt designed for that charity. They are really cool shirts. Now Sevenly has a new product—prints! For $24 get a print with things like this great saying on them: Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

6.      Quilted tote purse from American Red Cross. For just $24 bucks get a handy tote and support this lifesaving, support-giving, disaster-prepping organization.

7.      This one squeaked in because $48 is just under the $50 limit I place on all gifts, to keep them affordable for most people. But the scents from GIVESCENT sound fabulous and I love the story. A yoga teacher found a Sicilian almond oil she paired with summery citrus, and GIVESCENT was born. By purchasing a bottle of GIVESCENT (and there are 2 other scents as well), you are helping to support women through Every Mother Counts and Women International.

8.     Hand in Hand Soap is pricey at $18 for two bars, but for every bar purchased, Hand in Hand donates one bar of soap and one month of clean water. Also, 50 square feet of rainforest is saved for every bar of soap, bath salt, or candle sold. The soap is also Fair Trade Certified. The scents sound wonderful, too, from lavendar to orange blossom.

9.      This Alzheimer’s Awareness bracelet for $14.95 funds 50 cups of food at the Hunger Site. With a grandmother who was stricken by Alzheimer’s and 5 million more Alzheimer’s patients in America, this is a cause that gives a fourth way, in building awareness.

10.  Last but not least, the new year is coming, so start planning for it! Get an $18 moleskin planner from Red and 5 percent of the price will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.

That reminds me, if you have a favorite charity, don’t forget to check out their website for products also. Many stores feature products for charities at this time of year and also many charities have started selling their own products. So, God bless and enjoy the holidays!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter Hints for Helping

Sorry for not posting in a few months. I’m getting used to the challenges of a pretty new fulltime job and also being on the committee for the local Relay for Life besides my other duties as a mother and wife. Oh yeah, and I had a book come out in February, Behind the Stage. I still want to share great opportunities to help out others, but I won’t be able to do so on a weekly basis. Instead, I’ll try to do it twice a month. Here are a few ideas that I’ve put together for the winter season.

I know not everybody loves Facebook, but I think it’s pretty great. Especially since I’ve taken up a new challenge there. It’s called the 15 Can Challenge. It’s easy because it’s something you already do. Each week when you go shopping buy a few extra cans of food. Then the first week in December, contribute it to the local food pantry for their holiday dinners for the hungry. If you have the time, it’s a good idea to call them first and see what they are especially in need of, sometimes it’s something you may never think of, like peanut butter for PBJs, but that’s a great staple because of the protein benefits it has.

I regret not doing Socktober, which is a Kid President Challenge in October to provide socks for the homeless. But it’s not too late. Luckily, I live in Florida and we’ve only had a few days of cold weather. If you live somewhere that’s cold many months of the year, you know how that can be. Imagine being out in the cold night after night, or even in a shelter. It would be great to have some creature comforts. Local shelters and homeless providers need your help. Again, it’s better to call them and ask for what they need. They are the experts and they know what has already been donated by corporate or other sponsors. Gather the items and then have a packing party. You can get large plastic bags and pack them with necessities and add a personal note as well.

I’ve shared that I like to make and give out personal packs which aren’t so much for the homeless as for the depressed during this season when many miss their lost or estranged loved ones or just suffer from depression because of seasonal affective disorder, where the lack of sunlight can contribute to mood. The packs I make have a few fun items and the following explanation:

Survival Kit

Sometimes we need a little help to make it through. Here is a survival kit for you.

Included are:


A clothes pin so you can keep it all together.

A penny so you never have to say you’re broke.

A marble so you’ll never have lost them all.

Plenty of hugs and kisses (feel free to enjoy them)

Most importantly, a cross, so you’ll know that someone has had it harder than you

and He wants to show you how much He loves you.


The hugs and kisses are the chocolate kind. I'm a white chocolate nut so I have to include the hugs!
I also have done a Black Friday list since I started the blog in 2011 of things that you can buy for presents that give three ways—to the recipient, the giver and a charity. I will try to post that by Thanksgiving. Also, don't forget Giving Tuesday, a day after all the shopping and thanksgiving to give back. Take care and God Bless!