Giving with intention

The holidays are upon us for another year and with that comes the need for many folks to purchase and ship gifts to friends and family around the region or world. In previous years I’ve sent Amazon gift cards, money or sometimes gifts that I thought had meaning at least for me to the person(s) on my gift list. Some on my list have food allergies. Giving a fruit cake or even cookies to a person who’s gluten sensitive or has some other allergy is not a good idea. Earlier this fall I received a gift from a person who had made a donation in our names to a historical foundation. That invited me to begin to explore what other possibilities there were and in the process I found two new B-Corporations who have great gifts that demonstrate care for the recipient but at the same time are good for the planet.

Who Gives A Crap is one corporation that caught my eye. They sell toilet paper, paper towels and more. Some of their items are made from bamboo and others are made from recycled paper. They learned that 2.4 billion folks didn’t have access to a toilet in 2012. That number has decreased in part due to their efforts. They delivered their first product in 2013 and they have been going strong ever since. They donate 50% of their profits to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

Another eye catcher is Lula’s Garden. Their specialty is selling small succulent gardens. The business was born out of a love of succulents and a belief that a gift should serve a higher purpose. That grabbed my attention because that is exactly what I wanted to do this year. Gift giving ought to be something that impacts the recipients wellness throughout the year. They believe that better gift giving encourages better living. There will at least a couple of folks on my list who will get a succulent garden this year. Each garden sold provides six months of safe drinking water for someone in the developing world.

One of my favorite B-corps is Greyston Bakery. They make brownies for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Besides making the best brownies I have ever eaten they create job opportunities for folks who are traditionally discriminated against in the labor market. I’ve sent many brownies to friends and relatives in the years since I first learned of Greyston.

Finally, for the folks on my gift list who can eat, bread, peanut butter, biscotti and more I recommend Monks Bread which I eat nearly every day for lunch. Trappist monks at Abbey of the Genesee have been making delicious bread since 1951. They’ve diversified their baked goods in recent years to include biscotti and cheese crisps. You can also purchase products from other Trappist communities whose items they also sell in their online store.