Charitable Gift Ideas For Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day gifts have become a relatively predictable tradition. Chocolates, flowers and jewelry are nearly a guarantee for most recipients on this romantic holiday, though they may not be the best way to show your love. Skip the expected presents for something a little more meaningful, and try giving your sweetheart one of these charitable Valentine’s Day presents.
Fair Trade Chocolates
Chocolate is one of the most commonly given gifts on Valentine’s Day, though the chocolate you enjoy may have a darker origin than you imagined. Nearly half of the cocoa beans used around the world to make chocolate come from Africa’s Ivory Coast. Within this small region, farms harvest the cocoa beans to then be shipped to chocolate makers around the globe. Unfortunately, some farms, even those used by major chocolate makers, employ the use of slave labor to harvest the beans. This year, rather than promoting such a cruel process, purchase specifically fair trade chocolate to show the one you love, and others around the world, that you want to make a difference. Fair trade chocolate companies do not use slave labor, and pay cocoa farmers more than the market value of their beans to provide them with the necessary income to expand their business and get out of poverty. Brands like AlterEco, Art Bars, Camino Cocoa, Cloud Nine, Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Divine Chocolate and Sojourn offer slavery free, organic chocolate, allowing you to know your Valentine’s Day gift is truly from the heart.
Animal Shelter Pets
Valentine’s Day may seem like the perfect time to surprise children or other loved ones with a new puppy or kitten, but before you make a trip to the pet store, consider the potential harm. Purchasing animals from pet stores can encourage breeding farms- locations where malnourishment and overcrowding can severely harm the health of animals, and overpopulate your area with unwanted strays. If you are set on giving a pet as a gift, visit your local animal shelter or Humane Society and select a pet in desperate need of a home.
Gifts For A Cause
Some of your favorite beauty products, electronics and even clothing brands have partnered with charities to create hot products for a good cause. Companies like Apple, Gap, and many others feature some of their best products designed with specific charities in mind. Look for the (RED) iPod nano, a portion of whose sale goes to support research to find a cure for aids, or specifically designed (RED) t-shirts sold at GAP. The Susan G Komen Foundation raises money to find a cure for breast cancer, and has partnered with many brands to donate a portion of their sale to fund the cause. Visit www.shopkomen.com to view some of the products featured.
Charity Gift Cards
Gift cards are an increasingly popular choice for all holidays, Valentine’s Day included. This year, rather than give the gift of shopping at a major retailer, send someone a charity gift card. www.charitygiftcertificates.org allows you to purchase gift cards for various amounts, and send them to your intended recipient. They may then choose up to three charities towards which the dollar amount of the gift card is donated. This is an easy way to allow your Valentine to choose their favorite charity, and have a hand in selecting their own present.
Flowers For Charity
Flowers are also one of the most given items on Valentine’s Day, and are another great option for giving to your favorite charity. If you shop for flowers online, check major vendors for specific arrangements associated with charities. A part of the price of these specific bouquets is donated to the noted charity.
Conflict Free Diamonds
If you still want to give your loved one the gift of diamonds this Valentine’s Day, consider how and where the diamonds are mined. Like chocolate, slave labor is used to mine an unnerving percentage of the world’s diamond supply, unfortunately making the gift of diamonds a contribution to this practice. Further, the money made by slave labor diamonds is then used to fund violent rebellions throughout several nations. Companies like Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile, James Allen, Artisan Wedding Rings and Tiffany & Co use conflict free diamonds to ensure each gift is free of a tainted origin.
Trade The Champagne For Water
Before you pop open a bottle of champagne this Valentine’s Day, try purchasing another beverage to help ensure clean water for the rest of the world. Donate to charity: water, an organization designed to bring clean water to underdeveloped nations, and receive a greeting card to give your loved one, letting them know you made a charitable contribution in their name. Beginning at $40, this gift can provide years of clean water for an individual, or an entire community, depending on the size of your donation. For a fun electronic gift, charity: water has also partnered with JAMBOX to create a limited edition Bluetooth speaker, $50 of whose price will be donated to the charity. Other gifts, including t-shirts, wristbands, metal water bottles and more, are another great way to share your contribution this Valentine’s Day.
This Valentine's Day, give the one you love more than drug store chocolates and a cheap card. Though they're not as easy to pick up as a stuffed teddy bear and a rose, these gift ideas do show you care. Try one of these charitable Valentine's Day gift ideas to make your holiday, and the world, a little better.