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17 Gifts That Support Worthy Causes

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


As holiday shopping kicks into high gear this week, think about picking up unique gifts and doing good at the same time.

Buy With Heart Social Enterprises create change for a variety of underserved populations in Rhode Island, from recent refugees to underserved youth to persons with disabilities. Like the people these businesses serve, the products they offer are just as unique and diverse. Buywithheart.org highlights a wide range of products for every price range and interest; here are the top 10 gift Ideas from Social Enterprises as well as a handful of stocking stuffers under $20.

Kid or Adult Bike from Recycle-A-Bike

Bikes are a great way to stay fit and have fun, and Rhode Island boosts several spectacular bike trails. Recycle-A-Bike rescues bikes from the landfill and refurbishes them, with the help of volunteer, expert mechanics. Proceeds

Restored bikes at incredible prices, for kids + grown-ups, from Recycle-A-Bike

directly support RAB educational programs. In addition to bikes, Recycle-A-Bike also offers stationary kid’s bikes, which are a great way to introduce a toddler or young child to riding. Contact [email protected] to learn about bikes in stock. Price: $15- $30 for kids bikes, $50- $350 for adult bikes. Where to Buy: Contact [email protected] to learn about bikes in stock. 

Family Photoshoot from RiverzEdge Arts Project

Give a fellow parent the opportunity for high quality family photos in a setting that is fun and interesting for the kids. RiverzEdge Arts Project provides underserved teen in Woonsocket with training and employment in the arts. Their photo team will bring youthful creativity and flair to family photos, in a professional, high-quality setting. Price: $50-$150 depending on the package and the setting. Where to Buy: Contact [email protected]

T-Shirt from Happy Shirts

Happy Shirt’s founder Eric Anderson creates shirts “that represent the things that make you happy - from hobbies to animals, professions, activities, sports, and just plain old fun stuff”.  Each shirt displays a colorful design and the tagline “my happy.” What/s more, for each shirt bought, Happy Shirts sends a t-shirt or onesie to a child or refugee around the world. This not only makes Happy Shirts a fun gift, but a valuable teaching tool for a child in your life. Price: $20. Where to Buy: www.happyshirts.net or stop by Sparks Toys, 371 Putnam Pike, Smithfield Commons, Smithfield.

Courses at The Steel Yard

The Steel Yard is a refurbished Steel Mill-turned funky arts space in the Industrial district. Course offerings include ceramics, glass, blacksmithing, jewelry and welding and are open to youth over age 15.

The perfect gift for the teen show has everything: a course at The Steelyard

Fortunately, the Steel Yard offers gift cards so there is no need to pick out a class yourself. Perfect for that teenager on your list who is notoriously hard to shop for! Price: $240 - $300. Where to Buy: Check out course listings at http://www.thesteelyard.org/takeacourse/courses and pick up a gift certificate here: http://www.thesteelyard.org/takeacourse/gift

Apparel from Broken Pieces International

Broken Pieces offers a variety of fashionable clothing and accessories for youth and young adults. Favorites include the “Speak Peace” t-shirt, messenger bag with African prints, and women’s skirt made with African-print fabric. Price: $20-$40 per piece. Where to Buy: http://brokenpiecesintl.com/

Studio Session at PeaceLove Studios

PeaceLove Studios is a collective of artists advocating on behalf of individuals suffering from mental illness. Open studios offer the public a chance to explore their artistics abilities. A $25 gift card will get you access to five sessions. Ongoing Sessions: Tuesdays 12:30-2pm, Wednesdays 1-2:30pm, Thursdays 10:30-12pm, Friday 10:30-12pm. Other times may be available. Please call ahead. A perfect way for parents to introduce their kids to art. Price: $25. Where to Buy: Find a gift card for studio sessions and other unique gifts at http://shop.peacelovestudios.

Sponsor a Child as part of Flying Kites International

Based in Newport, Flying Kites uses an innovative residential model to care for orphaned children around the world. Instead of giving a gift, Pledge to sponsor a child in the name of a child in your life. Price: Sponsorship runs upwards of $144/ year. Or make a donation in any amount! Where to Buy: http://www.flyingkitesglobal.

Full Share or Half-Share CSF from Ocean State Fresh

Ocean State Fresh is a Newport-based Social Enterprise that aims to ensure that “fresh, local seafood stays fresh and local”. A CFS or “Community-sponsored fisheries” share or half-share will give you a

Their own catch of the day, every week: a share from Ocean State Fresh

deal and provide a family on your list with a great deal on fresh Seafood. A half-share will deliver 1-2 pounds of filleted fish or the equivalent value of lobsters, crabs, and seafood each week. Price: $300 for half-share, $510 for full share. Where to Buy: http://www.oceanstatefresh.

Two Commercial Cleaning Sessions with Keep It Clean

Great for the busy small business owner on your list! Keep it Clean provides job training and employment for persons with developmental disabilities. For a Holiday gift, they are offering two consecutive (maximum) 2.5-hour commercial cleanings (not a residence or home) for $200.00. The fine print: the two cleanings have to be scheduled either once a week for 2 consecutive weeks or once every other week within the same month. The location of the cleaning service has to be within a 10-mile radius of Providence. The cleaning service can only be provided between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. (No holidays, no exceptions.) Price: $200. Where to Buy: email Cathy Salerno at [email protected]

Artisanal Granola from Providence Granola Project

Give the gift of healthy, delicious, and locally-made granola! The Providence Granola Project employs recent refugees who would otherwise find it difficult to earn a living. The company also knows how to get creative, and offers a different flavor of granola each month. We suggest spoiling someone on your list with a Deluxe Holiday Gift Pack, or being extra generous and signing them up for the ‘Granola of the Month’ club. Price: From $6.95 for a 12 oz. bag to $35.00 for a 5 lb. bag. Deluxe Holiday Gift Pack: $99. Granola of the Month Club: $65.70 - $262.80. Where to Buy: http://shop.providencegranola.

Stocking Stuffers: Gifts under $20

Cookie Place Cookies: Sales of these award-winning cookies also provide job training and professional development for people with disabilities. Price: $11.99 for 1 ½ Dozen Cookies. Where to Buy: 280 Washington St # 1  Providence, 351-8789.

Glee Gum: This delicious gum supports sustainable harvesting of chicle, the all-natural ingredient found in Glee gum. Glee Gum also offers the “Make Your Own Candy” kit for creative kids and adults alike! Price: $10 for one case (12 boxes of gum) "Make Your Own Candy Kits” 3 for $30. Where to Buy: http://www.gleegum.com/

Inspire Green Water Bottles: This Social Enterprise started by students at Bryant University produces eco-friendly water bottles with built-in filters. Price: $14/ bottle. Where to Buy: http://www.inspiregreeninc.com/order-here/

RiverzEdge Arts Project T-shirts and Stationery: Sales of these youth-designed products support art education and employment for underserved teens. Price: $5- $20 per product. Where to Buy: http://riverzedgearts.org/shop.html

Runa Tea: Sales of Runa Tea facilitates sustainable development for indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Price: $6.99/ box of 15 tea bags. Where to Buy: www.runa.org

PeaceLove Holiday Cards, T-shirts, and watches: PeaceLove merchandise supports expressive arts programs for persons with mental illness. Price: $15-$20. Where to Buy: http://shop.peacelovestudios.

House of Hope Boutique Products: House of Hope Boutique employs women transitioning out of homelessness to create one-of-a-kind original purses, totes, and wine bags using repurposed materials. Stop by HOHB’s brand-new storefront to pick up a gift! Where to Buy: House of Hope Boutique, 3190 Post Road Warwick.

For more holiday coverage stay tuned to GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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