When it comes to the holidays, everyone is in the giving (or receiving!) spirit. But since not everyone is fortunate enough to participate in this merry tradition, we’ve got you covered so we can all help share the love. Below are some of our favourite organizations where you can give gifts to share your hobbies with others, provide urgent needs for those in desperate situations, support someone in your community, or even get yourself a gift made by a Kenyan mama.
Care is an organization that has humanitarian and international development projects ongoing in 90 countries around the world, reaching over 72 million people. In particular, they focus on urgent & basic needs, agriculture, education, and women’s empowerment. In their gift catalog, you can find low-cost gifts such as an infant care kit ($23), irrigation for a farmer’s group ($27), and three feminine hygiene kits for teen girls ($30), or you can share your own interests with others through gifts like a set of library books for a refugee camp ($30), a school sports kit ($48.60), or a laptop ($150). If there’s a gift you’d like to donate towards that’s out of your budget, you’re welcome to do a partial donation towards the gift you’d like to give.
Me To We is a social enterprise that provides socially responsible products, and half of its profits are donated to its non-profit partner; Free The Children. These gifts are for you or a friend rather than someone across the world, but every purchase also gives a gift to someone else. For example, every purchase of their personalized charm necklace ($20) gives one month of clean water to a family in a Free The Children community. These types of gifts are great for that co-worker you need to buy something for at your office gift exchange!
Free The Children, as mentioned, is the non-profit arm of Me to We. While you certainly can donate needs-based gifts to people in developing countries here, what’s notable is that you can also donate towards a domestic cause within your local community. For example, you can provide leadership training and mentoring to a student, give resources to a school, support an Aboriginal workshop, or give a school the opportunity to participate in the WE Schools program, which includes leadership camp scholarships and a trip overseas to engage with and make a positive impact in a developing community. I was fortunate enough to go on one of these WE trips to Kenya, and it’s still the most life-changing experience I’ve ever had.
Unicef has the biggest variety of social impact gifts, and the best part is some gifts are matched by their supporters – doubling your impact. There are many low-cost, high-impact gifts here such as bed nets (2 for $10), HIV Test Kits (8 for $12), and anti-malaria tablets (116 for $12). With every gift you give, you can receive a card or send a personalized card to the person for the gift you made in your honour.
UN Refugee Agency (for Syria) provides basic and urgent needs for Syrian refugees, and has already helped 1.8 million refugees receive food aid, 500,000 children enroll in school, and shelter 460,000 refugees. You can either donate money towards a specific gift such as a stove or a tent, or you can just donate money to be used as necessary.
Thank you for sharing the holiday spirit with those who need it most!