With gift-giving season here, we thought we would give you a few ideas by pointing out a few of our friends and colleagues, as well as a couple other organizations that are out there working to make a difference not only by employing their workers with fair wages, but also by working to educate and improve the communities where they work. So here is our official 2012 Help One Now holiday gift guide!


Project 7
Project 7 can get you everything from iPhone cases to bottled water to really good coffee, and every purchase goes to organizations working in seven different areas of need:  Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Teach Them Well and Save the Earth.

Sevenly builds 52 charity t-shirt campaigns a year — one per week (and the shirts are sweeeet).  Each purchase brings $7 to that week’s charity, and at the end of the week, they send a check.   For the next few days, they are doubling the donation, so each shirt actually nets $14 for the charities.

Direct, On-The-Ground Impact:

Plywood People
Plywood People is a community in Atlanta that works to solve social problems creatively and collectively. Famous for their GiftCardGiver campaign (in which they collect underused gift cards and pass them along to other charities), they also run Billboard Bags which makes bags and wallets out of recycled billboards.  These items are made by legal refugees, and the money raised goes to teaching them English and helping them join society.

Sole Hope
A group of passionate, committed people who are putting closed toed shoes on African children, one pair at a time. It all started with a chance encounter with a YouTube video–a video that broke our hearts, took us WAY out of our comfort zones, and lead us to Uganda.

Love 41
Started by the family behind Saddleback Leather, Love 41 is working closely with HIV+ women in Ethiopia, as well as in impoverished communities in Ecuador and the United States.  Their products are handmade out of recycled bullets, gun-metal and furniture, and their profits are sent back to aid Africa via ANLM.

Krochet Kids
Krochet Kids was birthed by three high school buddies who started crocheting their own ski caps and scarves for fun.  After one of them spent a summer in Uganda, they realized that they had a chance to change lives in the refugee camps there.  Today, over 150 women in Uganda and Peru have jobs creating these same, handmade winter items; furthermore, they are seeing their communities changed by the education and opportunity Krochet Kids brought.  Uniquely, every item is signed by the person who made it, and you can join the story at their website or at stores like Amazon and Nordstrom (where I got mine).

Warby Parker
Following the known model of one-for-one, every time you purchase one of Warby Parkers frames (which are pretty sweet — I’m on my third pair), Warby Parker gives a pair to a person in need.  Furthermore, they are partnering with Visionspring to teach entrepreneurs to start their own businesses selling eyeglasses in rural communities.

Good Reads:

And, if you are shopping for a voracious reader, here are a few by our friends and a couple by our Haiti bloggers; all of them are focused on ways we can help the global poor or change our own lives to live more intentionally.

The Writers Studio – Jeff Goins
Good Idea Now What – Charles Lee
Unlikely Missionary – Dan King
Fatherless Generation – John Sowers
Orphanology – Tony Merida and Rick Morton
Barefoot Church – Brandon Hatmaker
7  – Jen Hatmaker
Everything – Mary DeMuth
More or Less – Jeff Shinabarger
Chase – Jennie Allen

Finally, don’t forget that we are still in the midst of our Legacy Project.  For a gift that will literally change the lives of our orphans and vulnerable children at Yahve Shamma in Haiti, consider buying a couple bricks, or making an end-of-year contribution to The Legacy Project or to the Help One Now operations.