I want this Christmas to be different. I want the gifts I give and receive to be the kind of gifts that make a lasting impact. Not the wow that's the coolest gadget EVER kind of reaction but the kind of impact that changes lives.
So I have been searching blogs and websites for ministries who sell cool or beautiful items and give the profits to people in need.
So here are some of my favorite gifts that make a difference.
(1) Amani Ya Juu (means Higher Peace in Swahili).is a sewing-marketing-training project for marginalized women in Africa. The main center is located in Nairobi, Kenya with sister centers in Rwanda and Burundi.The women involved in the project are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a higher peace that transcends ethnic differences.
This online store has got to be my absolute favorite. You could buy me anything from their store and I would be a happy camper. In fact, I finished a HUGE chunk of my Christmas shopping at their store. They have jewelry, housewares, purses and other beautiful things for sale in their online store. Just take a look at this necklace:
(2) Lifesong For Orphans is a ministry that seeks to bring joy and purpose to orphans by mobilizing the church, His body, so that each member can provide a unique and special service: some to adopt, some to care, some to give. I recently one this awesome looking shirt from them in a giveaway.
(3) The ApParent Project seeks to help mothers and fathers in poverty be A PARENT to their children. They are educating and taking care of street kids who don't have A PARENT. We are using media and the arts to make the needs of Haiti APPARENT to those who can help, and we are doing this all with the hope that the love of God will be made more APPARENT to those we humbly serve and that He will be known as A PARENT to the parentless. They will soon have their online store up at this site. In the meantime you can host a party and sell their stuff to your friends and get some for yourself.
(4) Blood Water Mission (website) was founded by the multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning band, Jars of Clay, Blood:Water Mission began as a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. The members of the band were committed to share the often-untold stories: those of creative, compassionate, hard-working Africans bringing health, hope and healing into their respective communities. Blood:Water Mission first stepped into funding a late stage AIDS hospice and discovered the vital link between living with HIV/AIDS and the need for clean water. As a result, Blood:Water Mission launched the 1000 Wells Project in 2005 as a nation-wide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa based on the equation that $1 provides one African with clean water for an entire year. You can but their stuff here.
(5) Samaritan's Purse does so much that I can't even begin to summarize their work. They literally are all over the world meeting people's basic needs and sharing Christ with them. Visit their website NOW to see the AMAZING work they are doing. You can buy "unique: gifts on their online store. These are not the type of gifts you can unwrap and touch but they are gifts that will make a truly lasting impact.