Give Gifts That Matter This Holiday Season

Holiday Gifts That MatterDecember 15, 2010
The holidays are here. Gift giving, holiday festivities, and lending a hand are in order. It's been quite a year. Natural disasters of catastrophic proportions like the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan, coupled with the state of the U.S. economy find people at an impasse: Give gifts to loved ones or donate to organizations that help people in need?

We say, do both. The Green Family Foundation encourages you to do what you can to help humankind, both here and abroad. Below are some suggestions for holiday giving that do double duty as holiday gifts and charitable donations.

Who doesn't like organic cotton undies? EarthSpark Light Haiti program
We know we do. EarthSpark International, whose mission is to eradicate energy poverty, has partnered with PACT for the Light Haiti program. Order one of the Winter Lights prints, and a solar-powered lantern is donated via EarthSpark to a family in Haiti without electricity.  The underwear designs are super cute and earth-friendly!
Help EarthSpark meet their goal of donating 1,000 solar lanterns in Haiti.

Haiti Box Set ContentsMusic fans, own a piece of folk history. Hopefully you've heard of the Alan Lomax in Haiti: Recordings from the Library of Congress 1936-1937. And if you have, you may now that it has been nominated for two GRAMMY Awards. Buy it here and $15 go to the Red Cross International Response Fund to aid in the disaster relief in Haiti. You can also purchase Musical Selections from Alan Lomax in Haiti, a sampler set from the collection, which includes 10 track. 100% of the proceeds go to The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Doctors Without Borders, and Partner in Health. And it's only $4. Buy the sampler here.

Can $25 buy someone clean water for life? Yes it can. Since 1990, has impacted millions of lives throughout the developing world with safe water and improved sanitation systems. In Haiti, where less than 50 percent of people have access to clean holiday giftswater and only 1 in 5 have access to sanitary toilets, the need for wells and clean water is dire. At the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, announced its commitment to reach 50,000 Haitians with clean water and sanitation over the next three years. Help them do that. Buy a CamelBak Better Bottle for someone you care about and give the gift of clean water too. Please donate here.

Many of us voluWorld Food Programme e-cardsnteer at homeless shelters and soup kitchens during the holidays. The Green Family always takes time out to help people in our community. This year, in addition to volunteering a few hours, we urge you to make a small donation to the United Nations World Food Programme. The group offers four e-cards for Yuletide giving. The donation amounts vary. Five dollars can feed a school-age child in a developing for an entire month. Other cards feed hungry women, offer disaster relief, and more. Show your love this season.

Mercy Corps is an international aid organization that literally saves millions of lives a day. This holiday season, the organization wants to inspire you to "Be the Change" in our world. Their Gifts program lets you purchase innovative gifts in categories such as environment, women, children, animals, entrepreneurship, and health. You can give breastfeeding classes to new mothers in Jakarta, Indonesia or sponsor a hive of bees for farmers from Central America to Central Asia. So many great options for providing self-sustenance. It's a good time to support the work of Mercy Corps.

The spread of HIV can be slowed down with health education and literacy. We applaud Hesperian Publishing for its holiday gift program, which offers a two-book set that helps health workers and lay people alike with clear, easily-understood and up-to-date information as they confront the HIV pandemic in their communities. Order their Community Health Gift Set, and Hesperian will send an illustrated "Gift of Health" card letting your gift recipient know that a set of books was sent in their name to a poor community in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Give the gift of health.

Do you love Adrian Grenier from Entourage? We do too. For the holidays, he has partnered with charity:water. All donations made in his name go directly to the non-profit which brings safe drinking water to developing nations. For a $100 donation you will receive a signed photo of the actor. Donate $250 and he will call you (or the person whose telephone number you give him) in person to express his gratitude for the donation! Pretty cool. Help Adrian help others here.

We believe cultural traditions are an important part of our social fabric. For that reason, we invite you to donate this season to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival via its Jazz & Heritage Foundation. With one click you can contribute to the general fund, or choose a specific area. You can also donate in memory of someone else if you wish. Give heritage this holiday.

If you're in the South Florida area, you might want to donate to these local organizations. Click on a name to donate.

The Green Family Foundation wishes you the happiest of holidays and thanks you in advance for your contributions to organizations that help the world all year around.