In 2019, Impact Your World told you about dozens of people and nonprofits making a difference in their communities – from those fighting to stop rainforest loss and bird extinction to setting up safe spaces for sex-trafficking victims.
Here are ways you can help their efforts while giving gifts with a purpose to those you love.
North America has lost nearly a third of its bird population since 1970, mainly due to habitat loss. We showed you ways to help bring back bird species in your own backyard. You can also help by buying coffee that’s bird-friendly – coffee grown under a forest canopy that provides a habitat for birds.
Many coffee plantations are stripping native trees away so they get higher yields. But that hurts the ecosystem and forces producers to use more pesticides (since birds eat those pests).
You can find a bird-friendly coffee brand here. I’ve purchased a couple of them and they taste just as yummy as Starbucks. You can also look for the Bird Friendly icon on the packaging. Try it out for yourself and help preserve trees and habitat.
The Amazon rainforest – the largest rainforest in the world – is under threat of collapse. From fires set to clear land, to climate change effects that are drying it out. You can purchase products that help preserve the Amazon and rainforests all over the world.
From chocolate grown from sustainably produced cacao to soap and cleaning supplies, look for the frog icon that says “Rainforest Alliance Certified.” It means the products’ ingredients come from farms and forests that put nutrients back into the soil to keep it fertile and don’t require growers to clear more land.
Buy your buddy a tree
Earlier this year we learned US cities are losing 36 million trees every year due in part to development. It matters because trees provide cooling in hot summers, lowering energy use and cutting down on pollution.
Scientists have found reforestation can help slow the affects of global warming.
So why not buy a tree for your friend?
If you become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, you can choose 10 trees that grow best where you or a friend lives. Just enter the ZIP code and several types of native trees for your area will come up. They’ll send you saplings.
You can also help make your yard a more sustainable place all year long.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
If you like thrift store shopping or just like a good deal, Habitat for Humanity has stores that sell new and gently-used furniture, appliances, home goods and building materials. Products sell for a fraction of retail price. There are 900 Habitat for Humanity Restores in 49 states. You can enter your ZIP code to see if there’s one near you to shop or donate goods. The proceeds go to your community’s local Habitat for Humanity chapter and to help build homes for people in need around the world.
Gift your child’s favorite teacher
Teachers across the US are paying for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. Through the Kids in Need Foundation, you can “Gift A Teacher” with two large boxes filled with a semester’s worth of essential school supplies.
Teachers who have classrooms where the majority of the students are in the free or reduced lunch program can register with the organization. You can find a teacher in your child’s school or district in their registry here.
Gifts to help victims of sex trafficking start new lives
Experts say there are thousands of sex trafficking victims in the US alone. Earlier this year we told you about US safe houses that help victims get back on their feet. Several of them like Wellspring Living in Atlanta have Christmas wish lists for their residents.
The group Free Our Girls in Northern Colorado also has an Amazon wish list to help convert a house into a second-hand shop and office where survivors will work.
Three wishes for Ruby’s residents
Many of you read about this fifth grader in Arkansas who got an idea while visiting her mom’s job at a nursing home. She provides three wishes to residents who can’t afford the extra things that make life sweeter.
She raised tens of thousands of dollars through GoFundMe to make those wishes come true – from a new pair of pants, to a haircut or an ice cream sundae. Now you can buy this sweet T-shirt to help fulfill Ruby Kate Chitsey’s vision that recalls the exact moment she realized these residents needed help – a resident named Pearl and her visiting doggy.