Christmas season is here, and if you’re like me, you may just be starting to think about Christmas gifts. What if this year you could choose for your friends and family gifts that help you give twice?
The holiday season is often the time when many people think about doing charitable giving. But for many, the budget is just too tight to do Christmas and also donate extra money at the same time of year.
But what if you could do both?
Wouldn’t it be great to know that while you’re treating your loved one, you could also be helping someone in need at the same time? And what if that “someone” you helped was another woman who could really use your purchase not just as income, but as a reminder that she is capable and valuable and worthy?
I’d like to share with you some wonderful organizations that give you the opportunity to do just that.
Note: The pictured items I feature below are just to give you an idea of what these groups have to offer. Keep in mind that the inventory of these groups changes often because these items are individually created, not mass-produced. There may only be a few items of each kind in stock at any given time.
A few years ago while at a retreat I met a lady who told me about an organization she had helped start called Make Welcome. Here’s the info from their website to let you know their mission:
Make Welcome is a craft group focused on showing the love of Christ. We do that by providing friendship, community and entrepreneurial opportunity for refugee women in the Charlotte (NC) area. In the short term, we’ll be teaching sewing skills and offering a chance to practice English. Our long term vision is to mentor and support these precious women as they transition into American culture, providing a safe place where they are welcomed with open arms. “
Refugees resettled in Charlotte have come from countries such as Somalia, Burma, Vietnam, Iraq, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are safer here, but life is still quite a challenge for them.
These women are given a new skill through sewing classes and then given the opportunity to sell their products to help provide an income for their families. I purchased a scarf from them and just love it. The fabric is unique and beautiful and the sewing is perfectly done.
The Make Welcome products for sale are now joined to another Charlotte organization called Persona Grata. You can access their Etsy page here to find all the products they have made for sale.
Here are a few interesting items they have right now:
And you can read more about Make Welcome here.
MERCY HOUSE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE
I first read about Mercy House on Ann Voskamp’s blog. Another blogger named Kristen Welch started Mercy House after visiting Kenya with Compassion International.
Here’s how Kristen describes Mercy House on her blog, “We Are THAT Family” (found here):
The organization funds maternity homes in Kenya, created to aid pregnant girls living in extreme poverty. God built this house of mercy in the heart of Africa and it’s funded by moms and their families, people just like you.”
As part of the means to help these young mothers keep their babies and make a sustainable living, Mercy House gives them the opportunity to make products to sell.
Here’s a description of what they do:
The Mercy Shop is a global marketplace and the beautiful products in this shop are made by women empowered by Mercy House. We engage women through maternity homes in Kenya and employment through Fair Trade Friday in more than 25 countries all around the world. By purchasing from this store, you are supporting these young mothers and their children… The artisans who make the lovely items in our shop are some of the most oppressed and impoverished in the world, from Kenya to Ethiopia to refugees relocated to the United States. They are paid more than a fair wage and empowered by your purchase.”
You can find numerous items in this shop, including jewelry, bags, apparel, home decor, cards, prints, and more. You’ll find a link to their shop here.
Here are a few items I found while browsing:
You can read more about Mercy House here.
PREEMPTIVE LOVE COALITION
Another ministry I heard about last year through Ann Voskamp was Preemptive Love Coalition. I love what they are doing!
Here’s how they describe their mission:
We’re a coalition stretching across Iraq, Syria, the United States, and beyond, working together to unmake violence and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible…We meet families on the frontlines of conflict, providing them lifesaving food, water, and medical care. We give them what they need to hold on and hold out…We create jobs for those victimized by ISIS. We provide small business grants, tools, and coaching so they can start again and so their families can flourish.
One of their projects this year has been to establish a group they call the Sisterhood Collective where they teach women how to make and sell soap.
Here’s a video explaining it:
If you would like to buy their soap or other products through Preemptive Love, you can find do so here.
You can read more about the Sisterhood Collective here.
And you can read more about the work of Preemptive Love Coalition here.
I’m guessing by now you are seeing the theme I mentioned earlier in these gift options I have for you – they all have a purpose in empowering disadvantaged women. Eternal Threads has that as their mission, too:
“Our Mission – Weaving Hope and Justice. We are dedicated to improving the lives of women and children most at risk of extreme poverty, trafficking and other forms of exploitation by providing sustainable livelihoods through income generating projects…Eternal Threads began as a mission to help one group of women in India and has become a global community of women. Even though these women live in diverse areas of the world they share the same needs and hope for the future. Because they live in extreme poverty they need a means of creating income to care for their families, preventing their children from suffering from lack of nutrition, health care, education, shelter and the possibility of being exploited or trafficked.”
Eternal Threads now offers products made from women in 14 countries. Here are a few things you might find on their site:
You can read more about them and purchase their items here.
GIVE HER WINGS
This Colorado organization is run by a college friend of mine and his wife. Their ministry is to help women and their children who have been part of an abusive situation and have left to make it on their own. Often, there is no support for them, even from family or church.
Here is their mission:
The purpose of Give Her Wings is to raise gifts and money for mothers who have left abusive situations. Oftentimes, when a woman leaves an abusive marriage, she narrowly escapes with little more than her children and the clothes on her back. Give Her Wings desires to do all they can to help specific mothers who are living in very poor conditions presently. We want to give these brave ladies a chance to get on their feet . . . to breathe . .. to heal their broken wings and fly free again.”
In the past, Give Her Wings has sold gift items as a fundraiser to be able to support these women. This year, their fundraiser gave people the opportunity to bless these mamas and their children with gifts for them. Their fundraiser is over, and I’m happy to announce they reached their goal to buy a bundle of gifts for each mama they currently help! Isn’t that wonderful?
So even though we’ve missed this year’s fundraiser, they still could use money for shipping these bundles. And they have two mamas waiting for help in January. Give Her Wings will always welcome donations at any time!
Okay, so this option I have chosen for giving doesn’t exactly provide gifts that help you give twice, BUT….If you have people in your life who don’t really need more possessions, why not make a donation to help another woman in their honor and let that be your gift?
You can make a simple one-time donation to Give Her Wings here. (Or even sign up to be a monthly giver!)
I warn you – If you read some of the stories shared by these women on the Give Her Wings blog found here ,you may just find your heart broken.
I hope my guide to gifts that help you give twice will inspire you to think strategically this Christmas. It’s exciting to me to know that we can do some Christmas shopping and help another woman in need at the same time!
We are blessed with so many things, and I would say most of us can’t even begin to understand the trauma and loss and despair these women have experienced in their lives.
But just think – we could be a small light that shines in their darkness to help them see our Savior, the Light of the world, and give them hope that someone cares, someone believes in them, and someone values their work. We can be a small part to help restore dignity, worth, and honor to women who greatly need it. Let’s give so they can be Hope Dwellers, too!
Thankful for all our blessings,
In the comments below, please let us know if you make a purchase with one of these groups. Maybe you have other organizations with which you partner to give. Please share these, too! Thanks!
Note: I am not an affiliate with any of these organizations which means I do not make any profit from any purchase you make. My recommendations are solely given because I believe in what they are doing.