My lovely and talented wife had an article published in the most recent issue of our denominational newspaper. On p. 2 of the Winter 2008-09 issue of The Church Advocate is "Shopping With A Purpose" by Jane Horwedel. Unfortunately it isn't accessible online, but I can send you a copy in the mail if you are interested.
The article was actually an assignment she had for a college class she is taking. She had the brilliant idea to write a paper on something that she could actually use for practical purposes too. I always wrote my papers just for the grades.
The basis of the article is how we can buy things we need, but also help someone on the other end in the process. She highlighted three companies trying to make a positive difference in the lives of the people they employ. It is geared towards women - and all three companies employ women trying to escape things like prostitution, poverty, and drug addiction. However, anyone can purchase items from these companies, and in the process help someone out at the same time.
Freeset is a company that employs former prostitutes in Calcutta, India. Women are taken off the streets to make tote bags, purses and gift bags. It helps these women regain their dignity and have an opportunity to make a living and get an education. You can purchase their products at www.betterwayimports.com.
The Hagar Project is an organization which provides Cambodian women from impoverished backgrounds with job skills. You can visit their website (www.shopinlight.com) for handcrafted items such as handbags and other housewares.
The Women's Bean Project is based in Denver, Colorado and they educate through job training designed to help women trapped in drug addiction and poverty transition to self-sufficiency. This company sells pre-packaged mixes for dips, soups, breads and salsas and also carries a line of gift baskets. You can find them at www.womensbeanproject.com.
If you attend a cggc church, be sure to pick up a Church Advocate and turn to page 2. If you're still looking for Christmas ideas, why not check out one of these companies and... shop with a purpose.