The holidays are a joyful time for many, but they can also undoubtedly lead to higher levels of stress, especially as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to climb.
While the fun of putting up the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah or digging into your Karamu feast can help distract from the challenges of the past year, we’re still keeping something even more fulfilling in mind this holiday season — giving back to the people, and causes, that still need our help.
In the spirit of giving this holiday season, here’s our list of some of the best presents to give your loved ones that will also provide funding for those truly in need.
It’s hard to believe that what is now the nationwide Quarantine Rainbow Connection project (and Uncommon Goods’s rainbow collection) started out as a children’s rainbow scavenger hunt across Brooklyn, N.Y., earlier this year. The collection of masks designed by kids has already raised more than $22,000 for NYC Health + Hospitals, and now 100 percent of its profits will benefit Americares’ ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. The collection’s sturdy reusable tote bag is perfect for grocery hauls and dons the same rainbow images drawn by children.
You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who doesn’t love a good stuffed animal, and these specific toys are special because they represent the “adoption” of the real thing. Environmental organization World Wildlife Fund is selling buckets of plush wild animals, and the funds raised for them will support their global efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats. Pick up a colorful bucket of frogs, which represent the hundreds of species of tree frogs living in the rainforest canopy of the Amazon, or a cute and cuddly tub of cubs.
We as a nation have probably been putting together more puzzles this year than in any recent time, as the pandemic has forced Americans indoors to stay safe from the coronavirus. This particular one by Areaware isn’t just fun to put together, but it is also an “ode to the working woman,” celebrating equal pay for equal work by donating 10 percent of proceeds to the National Women’s Law Center.
Also on the rise this year have been the number of puppies running around the dog park, as Americans have flocked to adopt dogs to provide them with company and emotional support throughout a stressful time. This New York-based company helps support the motto of “adopt, don’t shop” with their high-quality pet products made from hand-dyed nautical rope. For each leash sold, Found My Animal donates an orange leash to a dog in need with their Rescue Orange Project, and the brand also supports numerous animal shelters and charities across the country.
For any of your loved ones who obsess over ethically made, organic skin care products, you can wow them with U.K.-based skincare brand Lush’s “Charity Pot” lotion. It’s a use-all-over kind of moisturizing product that calls upon sustainably sourced cocoa butter and other ingredients, and is made even better by the fact that Lush donates 100 percent of the pretax price to what they describe as “small grassroots organizations.”
Skylar Yoo is a feminist clothing brand started by the co-founder of the website My Modern Met, Alice Yoo. Yoo says she was inspired to start the brand after attending the Women’s March, and now she creates stylish tops that are meant to empower women and spread positive messages. Add that to the 20 percent of all net profits that are divided between the Malala Fund and Bring Change 2 Mind, and we’d say it’s the perfect gift for the inspiring people in your life.
We’re all in need of a little extra espresso this time of year, as days grow shorter and the sun is a little harder to find. Luckily, this bag of beans by Common Room Roasters can also make your gift recipient feel even better about their brew, as all $18 of its sales is donated to Lionrock Recovery, the pioneer of online recovery services for substance use disorders. Sip your daily cup of joe while knowing your purchase has provided free substance abuse treatment for those who need it.
Nutrient deficiency is a health problem that plagues billions around the world. In fact, nearly 2 billion people currently suffer from iron deficiency and anemia. Lucky Iron Fish is a simple gadget that was invented to try to curb that number, infusing food with the proper amount of iron and meant for long term reuse. For every fish purchased, the company also donates one to a community in need — so far they’ve already donated nearly 30,000.
Don’t have time to ship a gift to loved ones this holiday season? Have no fear, for the book “Family Meal: Recipes from Our Community” is only available digitally. A collection of 50 approachable recipes, “Family Meal” was published by Penguin Random House to help support America’s restaurant industry. Send it to the home cooks in your life, and don’t forget to mention that all proceeds from the book benefit the Restaurant Workers' COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
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