BY SUSAN REYNOLDS
Buy a goat, backpacks, water pumps, mosquito nets, medicine, shoes, and more
“Modeling the gift of giving what someone needs most—whether it’s warm clothes, mosquito nets, school supplies, a goat to provide milk, or a pump to provide fresh water—offers your grandchildren the opportunity to learn the many benefits and joys of compassion and philanthropic giving.”
86 % of Americans are likely to donate to charity this holiday season.
All year round, GRAND Magazine is dedicated to sharing information that improves the lives of grandchildren—and the parents and grandparents who love them. We love providing information that will help strengthen your bonds and foster the well being and emotional development of those little (and somewhat bigger) ones you love. While we typically offer gift guides in our holiday issue, this year we were drawn to the flipside of consumerism and overindulgence. Of course you will buy special presents for your grandchildren, but why not also gift them the opportunity to learn the joys of giving?
Modeling the gift of giving what someone needs most—whether it’s warm clothes, mosquito nets, school supplies, a goat to provide milk, or a pump to provide fresh water—offers your grandchildren the opportunity to learn the many benefits and joys of compassion and philanthropic giving. Thanks to the Internet, websites abound that make it easy for you and your grandchildren to sit down together (or separately) to view what each charity provides and to choose the ones that most appeal to your grandchild’s sense of responsibility and caring. We selected a few we think are a fabulous place to start. Click on headings to access websites.
Save the Children: taking care of children around the world
Save the Children’s Gifts of Joy! is a marvelous website to visit with your grandchild (you can order a catalogue online, if you prefer). For over 80 years, they’ve provided unique and meaningful ways to help others around the world: providing necessary resources (clean water pumps; medical supplies; education for girls) or a way to make a living (a goat, sheep, or cow; bee farming supplies; seed and tools for farming; and so on). You can also donate backpacks and school supplies to American schoolrooms, or buy small gifts for your grandchild that will support Save the Children charities. Once you’ve selected the gift, you can opt to receive a “thank you” card for your grandchild that will serve as a reminder of how good it feels to give. To add to your pleasure, approximately 90 percent of the funds raised go to the charities.
The U.S. Fund for Unicef: helping children everywhere thrive
Unicef USA offers a program called Inspired Gifts, which offers the opportunity to purchase lifesaving items (mosquito nets, basic immunization kits); educational items (text books, story books, desks); and items that will improve lives (like bicycles, water purification tablets, winter coats and blankets). Gifts are distributed to over 150 sites around the world, wherever the need is greatest. Once you choose your gifts, they will mail gift cards (or “thank you” cards) anywhere in the United States, with your grandchild’s name on them. This is another one that would be ideal to visit with your grandchildren, so they can choose which gifts feels most right to them. How much you can give ranges from minimal into the thousands—and it’s always good to be generous!
TisBest™: Where it’s all about giving
TisBest Charity Gift Cards offer a way for you to buy a gift card that doesn’t add “more stuff” to your grandchild’s pile of gifts. Instead, they use this card to choose where and how they’d like the money donated. Various holiday images are offered or you can upload your own images to create the gift card. TisBest™ will then email a card you can print (or mail you a plastic card), which your grandchild will redeem to the charity of his or her choice. Over 300 charities are listed on the Tisbest website, and after a minimal servicing fee for donations over $5, the rest goes to the charity. They feature multiple ways to interact, including blogs, a short video (see
TOMS®: Buy a shoe, give a shoe . . . and more!
Blake Mycoskie, a budding entrepreneur with a big heart created a revolutionary model for giving. TOMS® Shoes famously runs a One for One ® program. For each pair of men’s, women’s, or children’s shoes you buy, they donate a pair of shoes to someone in need (in over 60 countries). The shoe selection ranges from sensible to sensational: sequined slip-ons, embroidered canvas, suede wedges, sassy rain boots, and so on. To date, they’ve given over 10 million pairs of shoes to children; added TOMS Eyewear, donating glasses to over 200,000 children; and now have TOMS Roasting, which will offer one week of clean water in return for your purchase of a bag of coffee.
Handcrafting Justice: fostering global female empowerment
HandCrafting Justice, a project of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, an international religious congregation ministering in 71 countries on five continents, is ideal for buying a gift for your grandchild, or visiting with them so they can buy gifts for others. It offers more than 1,000 high-quality products designed and handmade by thousands of skilled artisans in safe, clean worksites, located in 20 countries around the globe. You can find hand-smocked dresses, appliquéd children’s aprons, children’s toys, woven tablet covers, gemstone jewelry, beautiful holiday cards, and lots more. You can also shop country-by-country, offering a little trip around the world for your grandchild.
We hope you and yours will enjoy the gift of giving
During the upcoming holidays, we hope you’ll share the gift of giving with your grandchildren, while also helping to make a better world. Shopping with your conscience is a gift to yourself, to your loved ones, and to the planet.
As always, we love to receive emails with ideas and resources. Click here to share ideas, or post on our Facebook page.
Start Them Young
TisBest believes that every child has the ability to make a difference in the world and developed a unique program called Discover Giving, a classroom philanthropy project that guides students through a hands-on giving experience using fun, engaging activities designed to foster altruism and spark a lifelong appreciation for the power of generosity. Their videos alone are a sensational resource for year-round giving.
Susan Reynolds has authored or edited many books, including Train Your Brain to Get Happy, Meditation for Moms, and Adams Media¹s My Hero anthology series (Mother, Father, Teacher, Dog) and Woodstock Revisited.