7 Gifts That Give

Uzbekistan ornament
Uzbekistan ornament, from National Geographic Gift Store

Passports With Purpose–Libraries in Zambia

It’s Passports With Purpose time again. Travel bloggers around the world join forces to raise money for a single worthy cause.  You can see all the details in my last post about the launch of PwP. This is a reminder, you have just two weeks to bid on the fantastic array of prizes. Bidding ends on December 16. Win fantastic trips, photo equipment, luggage, books, hotel stays and all kinds of travel gear. And this being the giving season–you’ll give that stuff you win to somebody else, won’t you? Each entry costs only $10, so bid several times. 100% of your money will go to build a library in Zambia. Winners of raffle prizes will be notified at the end of December, but everyone is a winner who helps this great cause.
Out of Print– Books for Africa

This is one of my favorite shopping expeditions this year.  I’m buying things for (XXXXXXXXX) and (XXXXX) [sorry, had to censor that since relatives read these posts sometimes.  But here’s the deal. Out of Print has taken the fantastic vintage art work from old (and sometimes out of print) favorite books (think The Great Gatsby, Clockwork Orange, Wuthering Heights) and put the designs on t-shirts (a purple one for Alice Walker’s The Color of Purple, of course), notebooks, tote bags, journals, note cards, and my favorite…e-reader covers. Can you imagine, whipping out your e-reader to read a frivolous romance, but nobody knows because it is disguised inside the cover that depicts James Joyce’s Ulysses?

Okay, great gift shopping, but what about the give back? Like Passports With Purpose, Out of Print cares about books in Africa. Each purchase enables the purchase of a book for Africa, through the charity, Books for Africa.

Hydros Water Bottles–Fighting the Global Water Crisis

In my original gift post, 10 Perfect Gifts for Travelers Who Read, I introduced Liberty Bottleworks. Before tellling you about Hydros, I need to add that Liberty also gives back to several different charities. You can see a list of charities here, and they pledge 1% of their profits and 1% of their working hours to helping those charities.

Now on to Hydros. Hydros bottles are environmentally friendly and made in the USA like Liberty Bottleworks, but they add a water filter to their product, so they are particularly good for people who are camping, hiking, or visiting third world countries. Hydros works with Engineers Without Borders to bring clean water to places in need. In addition to buying filter water bottles on their site ($1 from each sale goes toward ending the global water crisis), you can also purchase gift cards AND you can buy wrist bands that are a more direct way to contribute to providing water for people who need it.

Global Artisan Gifts–Fair Trade Helps Fight Poverty

Each year I like to find a place where I can buy gifts made by craftspeople, micro businesses in third world countries. Many people depend on their living by making small trinkets and there only market has been tourists who come to their remote location. But with the Internet, some lucky artisans have banded together or been sponsored by larger organizations so that they can sell their creations around the world.

  • Global Handicrafts is a fair trade store based in Hong Kong, but you can buy their goods at the Global Handicrafts online store. There is a wonderful variety here from handmade clothing to chocolate, coffee and tea. Have fun browsing in their “Shop” section.
  • Ten Thousand Villages is well known and has a fabulous selection of fair trade items. I particularly like their toy section for children’s gifts. Not only do such gifts carry a lesson, but they are the kind of toys that give a child room to imagine and think instead of just pushing buttons to make things light up and make noise. Sadly, the independent toy stores where I used to get things like German carved wooden toys have gone out of business in my town, so I welcome the opportunity to find handmade toys.
  • Google It. If you have visited a country and want reminders of your travelers, while helping local business, try googling handicrafts (name of country) or a more specific item you are looking for. Be a good neighbor to the countries you have loved.
Blue Q–Environmental Products aid Nature Conservancy
I find the clever items for sale at Blue Q irrisistable.  It is hard to describe briefly what they do. You’ll just have to click over there and see for yourself.  But I will mention that at this holiday season, if you want to cut down on waste, you might look at buying a decorated tin box and filling it with a few little items, rather than using wasteful paper and ribbon wrapping. How about one labeled Random Crap for your teen? Or the suggestive “Play Time Toy Box” for your sweetie? Not everything is that suggestive–and maybe its just my dirty mind, anyhow–so take a look.  By the way, if you don’t like to shop on line, you can check their handy store finder for who carries which products near you.
Oh, yeah. The doing good part? 1% of all their sales of bags (made from recycled materials) and steel water bottles (so you don’t have to use plastic) goes to the Nature Conservancy.
A Carrie Newcomer CD– Help End Childhood Hunger
Kerry Dexter also wanted you to know about the benefits of buying this music album by Carrie Newcomer. Everything is Everywhere, Dexter says at Music Road, is what happens “when you take that midwestern voice, that thirst for spiritual inquiry, the reflective nature of a writer and musician, and add in an unexpected month of teaching, touring, music making and experiencing the vast country that is India.” And besides the musical experience, you can feel good about the gift to end childhood hunger.  Proceeds from Everything Is Everywhere will go to benefit the Interfaith Hunger Initiative, a program which works to end childhood hunger in Indiana and overseas.
Vera Marie Badertscher

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

3 thoughts on “7 Gifts That Give

  1. thank you for including my suggestion of Carrie Newcomer’s album. I’d add that some years back, Newcomer made the decision to give ten per cent of the proceeds of each of her albums to a group doing work she believes in — the American Friends Service Committee was her choice for the album Before & After, for example. so while all the proceeds from Everything Is Everywhere will assist a good cause, a purchase of any of her recordings is a way to give back.

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