Gifts That Give To Those Who Need It Most #GiftGuide

As you buy gifts for loved ones this year, consider what you could do to help impoverished children throughout the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Latin America as well. Gifts are made through Cross Catholic Outreach, a 501c3 Catholic relief and development ministry that provides food, shelter, medical care, water, education, self-help programs, care for orphans and emergency relief. These are a few of the options people can choose from as gift ideas (more ideas are here):

  • Food for the hungry – Send lifesaving supplies of Vitafood to starving children and their families. $27 can feed a family for a whole month.
  • Toys and gifts for a needy child – Let Cross Catholic Outreach pack your Box of Joy with toys and gifts and send it to a child. For $34, Cross Catholic Outreach will pack your Box of Joy and send it to a needy child overseas.
  • Mosquito nets – Send a gift that will effectively help prevent malaria in Zambia. A gift of $26 will provide 3 mosquito nets and help prevent malaria.
  • Bicycles – Send one of the most useful gifts for the poor that you could ever send. $66 provides the gift of a bicycle.

Want to give back to the environment? Check out The Sierra Club. 

These Holiday Gift Guides have Gifts That Give Back, they are the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization. This holiday season, Sierra Club is asking families to put the environment first by purchasing gifts that help protect our communities and our future.

Adopt A Wild Animal: From a grizzly bear or polar bear, to a gray wolf or humpback whale, your symbolic adoption will help protect wild animals and the wild places they call home. “Adopt” today and receive an adorable plush animal to love.

Write for Rights: Amnesty International launches global campaign championing youth activists

Amnesty International has today launched Write for Rights, the world’s biggest human rights campaign, which this year champions children’s rights and youth activists.

“This year Write for Rights, Amnesty’s flagship human rights campaign, champions youth activists who are taking on the world’s biggest crises,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“From those campaigning for climate and environmental justice, to those challenging inequality, poverty, discrimination and political repression, young people have emerged as a powerful force for change who deserve the world’s support.”

Every December people around the world write millions of letters, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and postcards for those whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights event.

Amnesty International is hoping to break last year’s Write for Rights record of nearly six million messages of support for activists and individuals from 10 countries whose human rights are under attack.

Youth activism in the spotlight

Youth activists have played a prominent role in major protest movements and human rights campaigns during 2019, such as the Fridays for Future climate strike movement founded by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, as well as protest movements in many countries around the world.

Write for Rights 2019 features youth human rights defenders and individuals in Belarus, Canada, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines and South Sudan.

Launching two days ahead of Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, a day to promote children’s rights, several of the featured activists had their rights violated as children.

They include José Adrián, who was 14 when he was brutally beaten by police on his way home from school in Mexico. He is now demanding reparations for his treatment and for the police to stop arbitrary detentions in the state of Yucatán.

Among the other cases are:

  • Grassy Narrows Youth, a group of youth activists from an Indigenous community in north-western Ontario who have suffered one of Canada’s worst health crises. Their community has been devastated by 50 years of mercury contamination of their fish and river system. The Grassy Narrows youth are urging the government to address the mercury crisis once and for all, including by providing specialized health care and compensation for all;
  • Sarah Mardini and Seán Binder, two volunteer rescue workers in Lesvos, Greece, who face up to 25 years in prison for their humanitarian work helping spot refugee boats in distress;
  • Yasaman Aryani, who defied her country’s discriminatory forced veiling laws and now must serve 10 years behind bars. Amnesty is campaigning for her immediate release;
  • Marinel Ubaldo, a youth activist from the Philippines whose home was destroyed by typhoon Haiyan. She is urging her government to declare a climate emergency and protect future generations from the devastating impacts of climate change.

“The Write for Rights campaign epitomizes the ideals that Amnesty International was founded on – it’s about individuals helping other individuals. We are urging people to get behind these incredible young people who are campaigning for justice, equality and freedom,” said Kumi Naidoo.

“As we know from our work over the past five decades, writing letters works. Not only can it help free prisoners of conscience, but it makes a huge emotional difference to the people we support and to their loved ones.”

Monica Benício, the partner of Marielle Franco, a local politician in Brazil who was killed last year and was featured as part of the last Write for Rights, said of the campaign:

“It helps me to get up in the morning and see some meaning, knowing that there is this big global network of affection.

“All these demonstrations of love and affection are helping us to mobilize, to demand justice, to pressure for investigation and above all to fight so that there will be no more Marielles.”

TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS CELEBRATES 13 YEARS OF HOPE AND HELP

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) celebrates its 13th birthday on Saturday, March 30th. Since 2006, the nonprofit has been dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with mental illness. In their 13-year history, TWLOHA has donated over $2.3 million directly into treatment, traveled more than 3.4 million miles to meet people face-to-face at nearly 3,000 events, and has responded to over 210,000 messages from over 100 countries. Each month, they connect with 5 million people online through social media and their FIND HELP Tool fields 5,000 searches made by people seeking affordable, local mental health resources.
To celebrate, the organization is asking supporters to wear TWLOHA merch on March 30th and to post a picture on social media using the hashtag #WearTWLOHA. From the very beginning, the organization has designed and sold T-shirts as a way to fund their efforts. The merchandise they sell, however, serves a bigger purpose. It acts as a conversation starter and a way to introduce people to TWLOHA and their mission of spreading hope and help.
It’s amazing to think that March 30 means 13 years have passed since our friend Jon Foreman wore the first TWLOHA shirt on stage at a Switchfoot concert in South Florida. We never could have imagined all that’s happened since that time-the people we’ve been able to reach, the stories that so many have shared with us,” says TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski. “We get to hear from folks all over the world who are getting help and even choosing to stay alive. We are beyond thankful for the last 13 years. We’re truly hopeful and excited when we think about the future.
They will also be hosting a Two-Day Birthday Warehouse Sale on Friday, March 29th and Saturday, March 30th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their headquarters in downtown Melbourne, Florida. The sale is open to the public and will include brand new designs, exclusive deals on merch, and Run For It 5k registration. For more details, visit https://twloha.com/events/spring-warehouse-sale/.
This past September TWLOHA wrapped their 7th Annual World Suicide Prevention Day campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) and National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW). With the help of supporters from around the world, the organization was able to raise over $200k for treatment and recovery, more than doubling their initial goal of $100k. Over 3600 people donated to the “Tomorrow Needs You” campaign, in addition to the sale of 4655 World Suicide Prevention Day packs. The money raised will help sponsor nearly 4000 counseling sessions and connect 55,000 people to local mental health resources.
As part of the campaign, TWLOHA shared an inspiring video featuring actors Chris Sullivan (from This Is Us) and Jaina Lee Ortiz (from Station 19), country music star Hunter Hayes, who raised $25,000, writer/artist Morgan Harper Nichols, and singer/songwriter Matt Wertz, along with a number of clips submitted by TWLOHA supporters from around the world. To watch the video, please visit: youtu.be/aEzUMnBHHK0.
For more information on To Write Love On Her Arms, please visit https://twloha.com/.

Spring Fashion for a Cause #Education #InvestInGirls

Spring is in the air and Easter is around the corner, Olivela not only offers great spring fashion finds,  but a significant portion of every purchase goes to help educate girls worldwide (cause partners include Malala Fund, Too Young To Wed and CARE for Syrian refugees).

Olivela started when Founder and CEO Stacey Boyd joined Malala Yousafzai on a visit to refugee camps in Kenya and Rwanda. There she met amazing girls with extraordinary stories of overcoming poverty and war and escaping forced marriage to pursue their educations. She realized that the opportunities she and her two daughters are lucky enough to have—access to education and the ability to live life on their own terms—these girls literally had to risk their lives for. In that moment, it became crystal clear that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. It was from that realization that a new kind of retailer was born, one with giving back built into every, single transaction.

Olivela is a luxury fashion and beauty platform that offers unique styles from the world’s best designers with 20% of each sale directly benefiting the education of girls worldwide through best-in-class partners CARE, Malala Fund, and Too Young To Wed.

How Olivela Works

  • Consumers: shop their favorite designer fashion and beauty brands.
  • Olivela: Gives 20% of the proceeds of anything purchased directly to one of their partner children’s charities.
  • And at absolutely no additional cost to the shopper.

Impact:

Since launching, Olivela has provided over 41,000 days of school to at-risk girls through Malala Fund, CARE and Too Young To Wed.

Boutiques:

The online platform opened their first physical boutique in Nantucket this summer, the first of 15 boutiques to open across the country through 2019. The next will be opening in Aspen in December.

POLAR BEAR PLUNGES ARE SUCH A SHORE THING! #PolarBearPlunge

Plunging into frigid ocean waters with nothing more than a bathing suit on is not necessarily something that a person would do willingly.  Unless of course, you are one of thousands of participants taking part in the five plunges that are planned in Cape May County, New Jersey in the next four months. Whatever your reason is to willfully run into a freezing ocean during the winter months, there are some benefits, both entertaining and charitable, to taking the plunge.

How about getting together with your friends?  Plan to make it a weekend stay in Sea Isle City for the Polar Bear Plunge set for Feb. 15-17.  Revelers have been taking the bitter cold dip in the ocean waters of Sea Isle for more than 25 years.  It is not all about the plunge on this third weekend in February. There is plenty to do so plan to be busy from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.

The official plunge will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 on the beach between 38th and 40th Sts. beginningwith a costume contest at 12 p.m. at LaCosta Complex at JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue followed by the Plunge at 2 p.m. www.lacosta-seaisle.com  www.seaislechamber.com or www.lacosta-seaisle.com

 Sea Isle’s plunge weekend ends on a charitable note on Sunday, Feb. 17 with Mike’s Seafood 5K Run and 1.5-Mile Fun Walk for Autism at 12 p.m. on the city’s promenade. Registration will take place at 9 a.m. at LaCosta.  You can also pre-register by visiting www.polarbearrunwalkforautism.com

For some participants, plunging for a charitable cause makes the dip into the freezing temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean a little more doable.  One such event is the Fallen Heroes Plunge which helps to raise funds for families of police officers lost in the line of duty.

Fallen Heroes Plunge weekend is Feb. 22-23 in North Wildwood. The official plunge takes place on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. at 16th St. and the beach. Weekend activities also include a pizza party on Friday, Feb. 22 and a post plunge party at Keenan’s Irish Pub located at 113 Olde New Jersey Ave. at Noon on Saturday, Feb. 23. Participants can preregister at www.fallenheroplunge2019  or on the day of the plunge at the 15th St. Lifeguard Station beginning at 8:45 a.m.  www.FallenHeroPlunge.com

 Stone Harbor’s Shiver Weekend set for Mar. 15-16 invites plungers to take a frigid dip in the ocean to benefit Family Promise of Cape May County, a charity that supports, counsels and works to place homeless parents and children in permanent homes. 

The Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce has planned a weekend of events beginning Friday night at the Pre-Shiver Party at The Reeds at Shelter Haven located at 96th St. and Third Ave. For a $20 entry fee, enjoy a delicious buffet, a cash bar and a gift auction. 

Fred’s Tavern will host a “Kegs & Eggs” breakfast on Saturday, Mar. 16 before the race.  Plungers will receive a Shiver swag bag that includes a Shiver tee or hoodie and are encouraged to wear costumes and/or create a float to commemorate the Shiver. A Deejay will even play a theme song at your request; activities will begin at 12 p.m. at the parking lot at 96th St. and the beach.  The official plunge begins at 1:15 p.m.  After the plunge, it is back to Fred’s Tavern at 314 96th St. for a post-Shiver party.  Visit www.stoneharborbeach.com to register for the Shiver and find a list of activities for the weekend.

In Ocean City, event organizers put a twist on the traditional ocean plunge.  The Business Persons Plunge, as it is called, requires that participants wear business attire and carry a brief case.  Rather than jumping in, participants march into the ocean from the shoreline at the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend to celebrate the opening of the ocean.  The Business Persons Plunge takes place on Friday, May 24 at Noon at Moorlyn Terrace St. and the beach  www.oceancityvacation.com

While the idea of plunging into the ocean in frigid temperatures may seem completely insane to you, the list of plunge events and happenings shows that organizers have come up with creative ways to bring visitors to the Jersey Cape in the winter months.

Valentine Gifting From Companies that Give Back #ValentinesDay #Sustainable

If you want to shop sustainably this year, support small business, or like to avoid big box stores, I’ve got a shop for you. If you just like unique and high quality products at a reasonable price- this is a shop you will love. Marketplace Africa has clothing, bath and body products (and I’m in love with some of these already), purses, bags,- really, gifts for everyone on your list. Thoughtful gifts anyone would love to receive.

African body works

This website lets Africans can sell their one-of-a-kind handmade goods to the entire global market.  Anyone looking for a unique gift for the holidays can feel as good as the products they are buying, since they are purchasing directly from the source. Buying from small business owners in Africa boosts not only the store owner, but also the economy.

For more information on Marketplace Africa and to choose some fantastic gifts,  visit www.marketplaceafrica.com

Sudara creates ethically and sustainably sourced clothing for men, women, and children. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India. 12 years ago, Sudara’s founder partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants.The year prior, she had been to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery or were at high risk of being. The company was created to give woman the chance to have an education, a job with livable wages, and to be free.

ethical clothing

Sudara is a Certified B Corps company, which means they meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”. You know, the best of the best- the “good guys”.

The clothing is beautiful, as well. High quality, unique designs with fun colors and patterns, lots of options available. If you have not yet shopped with Sudara, I hope you take the time to give them a look now. Check them out on social media while you are at it, see what they have to offer- sudara.org  facebook  twitter  instagram

ethical clothing

Peace Frogs is a brand that encourages you to get outside, enjoy nature, and practices what they preach. They are helping to preserve the environment and giving back with purchases. Peace Frogs has been around for more then 30 years, and have “a long track record of giving back to charitable causes” while creating eco-friendly clothing and gear.  They have also  launched a #spreadthepeacecampaign that looks to bridge a divided nation. As per the company, “Today, in America, the country stands more divided than ever before, with constant fighting, name calling and general unrest, with social media and the news not doing anything to slow down the chaos. The Spread the Peace Campaign is a way for Peace Frogs to motivate people to be kind to one another and stop the hate, fighting and lack of tolerance. Peace Frogs wants to bring a sense of calm, peace and community back to a tense country that has forgotten how to love thy neighbor.”  The fun clothing, gear, stickers, and more promote joy, living in harmony, a healthy environment, and peace. For more information on Peace Frogs items or to purchase #spreadthepeace stickers, please visit: www.peacefrogs.com

ethical jewelery

Statement Peace (no relation to Peace Frogs) creates their “high vibration wooden jewelry” line designs and hand produces all of their “pieces of peace” in their South West Florida studio.  The company believes that energy is transferable, and that when you operate out of peace and love, that it is felt by all and creates a statement of peace. They want to transfer “passion, high vibrations and good juju with the intention that you feel our vibes” into the items they create. Each piece of jewelry is considered to be a work of art, and they convey this by including a custom designed wooden display stand with each item purchased. There is something special for everyone (men and women), from yoga lovers to outdoor enthusiasts. Rings, bracelets, and more are available. For every item purchased, they plant one tree.   Check out options at https://www.wearstatementpeace.com

show the love

Show the Love offers items that are each designed to showcase and inspire a specific sentiment. The jewelry is meant to inspire and to uplift the person who wears it. From feminist inspiration items to those inspiring others to speak up, to beautiful animal inspired themes, there is something everyone will love. Give a gift that is not only lovely but also inspiring and show the recipient that you are really thinking about them. Whatever they love, or perhaps would like more of in their life (happiness, calm, passion, etc) you can find something that will show your sentiment.

This company cares, and they show it not only with their designs, but also with the materials they use as well as the donations they give. Show The Love jewelry is made with recycled metals and ethically sourced stones. They also donate 25% of their proceeds, which they give to humanitarian and environmental causes. There are items for every budget, from $50 to a big splurge. These are fun, funky, unique, lovely items that your Valentine will cherish always. Visit the site at https://showthelove.com and see what you like best.

Love the Environment? So does NJ350! #GivingTuesday

350NJ

If you are a fan of clean water, clean air, and helping the environment, NJ350 is a group to considering donating to this Giving Tuesday.

The United Nations panel on climate change has released a study showing that the world is in more trouble than we had thought. Warming and related damage has accelerated. The window for correcting the problem and avoiding disaster has become much smaller. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/climate/ipcc-climate-report-2040.html

These are frightening times. We need a transformation in the way we live that is enormous in scale, and we need it very fast.

What can you do? Many things. Write letters, reduce your carbon footprint, support climate friendly candidates, educate your friends and family, etc. It is a long list.

Today we are writing about one action item that we hope is also on your list, and that is making donations to organizations that are fighting to save our planet. Specifically, we are hoping you will make an end of year gift to 350NJ-Rockland.

We are proud that in 2018 we did the following!

·     Held a beginning of year planning retreat and a membership soiree

·     Partnered on a screening of “How To Let Go”

·     Participated in the NJ Climate Summit

·     Provided leadership for fossil fuel divestment campaigns in NY and NJ

·     Participated in Food and Water Watch’s OFF-ON Fossil Fuels Campaign

·     Played a leadership role in opposing the Gateway Expansion Project

·     Hosted a showing of 350’s RISE campaign launch

·     Co-sponsored the Poor People’s Campaign’s climate protest (three of our Steering Group members were arrested!)

·     Opposed the CPV fracked gas power plant

·     Participated in the Lac Megantic Memorial event

·     Submitted a comment opposing Williams Rivervale South to Market pipeline

·     Co-sponsored an educational program on the Army Corps of Engineers proposed Hudson River Barriers

·     Helped defeat the New Planet Energy solid waste gasification project

·     Co-sponsored the Sustainability Sunday program in Caldwell

·     Participated in the March on Albany and 2018 Women’s March

·     Opposed the Meadowlands natural gas power plant

·     Co-sponsored the Oil Train Safety Rally

·     Co-sponsored an educational program on polar ice melting

·     Endorsed the recent No New Infrastructure fast in Trenton

·     Conducted various outreach and tabling events

We are grateful to the many, many supporters who helped us accomplish all of this great work!

As you probably already know, everyone who works with 350NJ-Rockland is a volunteer, and we do most of our work on a shoestring budget. We rarely ask for money; we prefer to focus on making things happen.

But as the season of giving approaches, we hope you can help us set the table for 2019 with a generous contribution to support our fight against climate change. Giving is easy: simply click here: http://world.350.org/newjersey/donate/.

Your financial contributions will be used for things like: web-hosting, direct action trainings, printed materials, liability insurance for events, protest signage, scholarship assistance for trips, entry fees for tabling opportunities, and travel. Our annual fundraising goal is $10,000.

Climate change threatens nothing less than the future of humanity. It is a cause that is so big and so urgent that it can be thoroughly daunting. With your help, though, we can and will make a difference. For the sake of our grand-children and great-grandchildren.

Thank you for your help!

350nj

For #GivingTuesday , Why Not Pledge to End Alzheimers? #EndAlz

#givingtuesday

Are you done waiting for a cure? Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s. So there’s no time to waste. Not for them, and not for the people already living with Alzheimer’s – or the carepartners who put their lives on hold. We need to accelerate our search for a cure. That’s why a generous donor has given us the opportunity to do just that by matching your gift FIVE TIMES in honor of Giving Tuesday!

We must break down barriers to a cure. We can only do that by securing federal research funding and improving clinical trials. We don’t want you to miss the opportunity for your gift to have FIVE TIMES the impact on this urgent work. Please con making a tax-deductible gift by midnight tonight to help us stop this disease once and for all?

People living with Alzheimer’s and their carepartners are done waiting. We’re done waiting. Aren’t you? Take advantage of Giving Tuesday by multiplying the power of your gift by FIVE to accelerate a cure.

samantha feuss