Go With All Your Heart | Forum for Theological Exploration

Go With All Your Heart

By: Kathy Lee
December 05, 2011

I want to add my voice among all of this Black Friday Holiday Gifts In Yo Face Must Have Deals Grouponcopious Ticking Time Bomb You Can’t Afford This Except for Today O M G Why Do We Do This Every Year Extreme Makeover Madness.
Gift-giving is great. Giving gifts that are meaningful is also great. But let’s be honest. If I were to tell you that instead of buying you something this year, I donated money to a charitable organization on your behalf, would we still be friends this time next year? Now you’re just envious of some Mongolian family who has a water buffalo that you could’ve used… or re-gifted to a co-worker. So instead of creating a spirit of covetousness, let’s meet in the middle. Let’s buy each other goods that make a positive impact in the life of someone deserving. Kind of like TOMS, except these organizations have not hit hipster, trendy status. So let’s give our undivided online attention to:
Thistle Farms is a social enterprise that employs women of Magdalene, “a residential program for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction.” NPR has several stories that covers how Magdalene and Thistle Farms are helping women overcome tremendous obstacles through self-empowerment and a community that loves. I had the opportunity to visit the Thistle Farms facilities this past Spring, and I cannot describe how hearing such stories of transformation and healing impacted me. AND I walked away with some uh-mazing lip balm and shower gel. (I highly recommend the Tuscan Earth flavor. It’s what heaven must smell like.)
The Learning Tea is a nonprofit “dedicated to help educate impoverished young women in Darjeeling, India.” I picked up a package of The Learning Tea black tea during a coffee shop work session at Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party in Atlanta, GA. I was drawn immediately to their attractive packaging.
The Learning Tea sells loose leaf teas grown in India and 100% of the sales goes back to projects in India. Here are some not-so-fun facts about what life for a girl in India might look like:

  1. 1 out of 6 Indian girls do not live past the age of 15
  2. Nearly 2 in every 3 women in India are illiterate
  3. 35 million girls do not attend school in India
  4. Among married women in India today, 75% were under age at the time of their marriages.

Whoa-man, being a woman in this world has its challenges no matter where you live. From Nashville to India, there are opportunities for us to do good while purchasing gifts for those we love and/or feel obligated to buy gifts for. So, if you’re wondering why I bought you lotion instead of what you really wanted for Christmas, it’s because it was 20% off and if I added $25 more dollars to my order, the shipping would be free.
[Small group follow-up question: Are there other social enterprises that offer products you wouldn’t mind getting as a gift? Is Apple one? Buy an iPad and an employee gets one for 30% off?]

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This post was originally published HERE.

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