Here's to Mom! She taught you to tie your shoes, share your toys and be nice to other people. This Mother's Day, if you're looking to buy a certain something to say thanks for all she did, why not consider a gift that also spreads a little caring around the world? What follows is a roundup of do-good organizations, institutions and individuals who offer great Mother's Day gifts for the benevolent buyer. Such thoughtfulness is sure to make your kind-hearted mother proud.|
Wow her with water
Based in New York, charity: water is a highly-recognized organization that has raised nearly $10 million in the last four years, changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by providing clean and fresh water solutions in places that are without. Charity: water takes 100 percent of all donations directly to water solution projects and follows up with proof — pictures and Google earth coordinates of all completed projects. The impact is huge: Unclean water is the leading cause of death in developing nations, 90 percent of which occur among children younger than the age of 5.
You can support their effort and make your mom swoon by shopping their merchandise. Choose from dozens of gifts including GelaSkins for her phone ($15) or tablet ($30); a BPA-free, eco-friendly thermos ($40); or even a Kwiat diamond bracelet ($100). One hundred percent of every purchase goes to support the work of charity: water. Shop online at charitywater.org/shop.
Be charitable and charming
Since Kellie Noel, 23, set up her first display of hand-made earrings at Dunn Bros Coffee on Middle Road in Bettendorf last fall, she has raised more than $1,100 for Love 146, a nonprofit organization working toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. In May she plans to sell her lovely earrings once again, hoping that her contribution will empower the organization to continue their work in abolishing sex trafficking. "Jewelry is something I enjoy purchasing and making, and I'm inspired by the fact that girls around the world make jewelry. I have a heart for women and girls who are involved in sex trafficking and I feel fortunate to be able to contribute to an effort to help them," she says of her efforts.
Mother and daughter business partners Paula Martinez and Gina Bettini, who opened Dunn Bros Coffee in 2011, are happy to let Noel sell her goods in their store. "We are happy to be able to support Kellie by giving her space to sell her jewelry. We are proud of her for working to make the world a better place," Martinez says. Earrings ($10 a pair) will be available at Dunn Bros Coffee, 787 Middle Road, Bettendorf, while supplies last.
Support another mother
The name says it all. Because Every Mother Matters (BEMM) was founded in 2008 and has since established a birthing kit program to help provide safe births to vulnerable African women and their children; supported maternal health centers, child development centers and group homes for mothers; and purchased an ambulance to provide transportation and funds for women in rural Ethiopia to be taken to the nearest hospital in healthcare emergencies.
Amy Smith, who lives with her husband and six children in Muscatine, Iowa, became vice president of BEMM after she adopted a child from Ethiopia. "Having been to Ethiopia and seen the problems, I wanted to do something tangible so that other kids didn't have to go through what my daughter did. The women in our program come from mother-headed households. They want to work, and by helping them become self-sufficient, families can be preserved."
In addition to becoming a sponsor, supporters of BEMM can purchase "Tacky for Africa" headbands ($10) to help raise funds for their mission. The headbands are made by Burmese refugees living in the Midwest who pool the money they earn by constructing the headbands to help loved ones back in Burma. These, as well as lovely note cards ($10) and stylish screen-printed T-shirts ($29), are available on the BEMM website: becauseeverymothermatters.com.
Love her with local luxury
Because a portion of the profits from items purchased in museum stores help fund museum operations and often provide educational opportunities for community members, purchasing a Mother's Day gift at your favorite museum can be a great option. For instance, at Quad Cities Botanical Center's Window Box Gift Shop you can find handmade infused glass, beaded jewelry, and unique garden gifts made by local artitsans. The Putnam Museum Store and the Figge Museum Store are both gold mines for lovely gifts that will make your mom smile. Search museum websites for hours of operation.
Embrace joyful job creation
The Adventure Project invests in entrepreneurs in developing countries, rallying behind individuals in an effort to alleviate extreme poverty and create jobs. In just over a year, the tribe, through social enterprise, has provided charcoal-efficient stoves to families in Haiti and irrigation pumps in Kenya, as well as trained mobile well mechanics in India and much-needed health-care professionals in Uganda. Co-founder and former Iowan Jody Landers believes in channeling the power of motherhood and changing lives through job creation. As her venture partner, Becky Straw, has said: "Never underestimate the power of a woman who is given an opportunity."
You and your mom can be a part of the adventure this Mother's Day simply by purchasing a meaningful gift that supports the work of The Adventure Project. Buy an organic, vegan handmade bar of vanilla almond scented soap ($20) and help train a mechanic to fix and maintain fresh-water wells in India. Or, purchase a cute canvas tote ($42) and equip a health-care worker in Uganda with a uniform and bag full of necessary supplies. These thoughtful gifts, as well as many others are available at theadventureproject.myshopify.com.
A better way to BOGO
For a great, do-good gift that everyone is talking about, check out TOMS Shoes. With each pair of shoes that you purchase, TOMS will give a new pair to a child in need. Not only is the cause worthy, but the stylish shoes are both comfortable and versatile. TOMS recently added eyewear to their one-for-one model. For a style-seeking mom, you might consider wrapping up a pair of sun glasses. With your purchase, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need by providing prescription eyeglasses, surgery or other necessary medical treatment. Shoes and shades are available at select stores and at tomsshoes.com.
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