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Holiday Gifts that Help

December 1st, 2016

photo credit: bigstockphoto.com

HTE Kids’ News isn’t just about what’s in the news … it’s about awareness of the people and places around us. It can be interesting, inspiring … and this holiday season we hope you’ll consider getting involved.

For the first time, we’ve made a Gifts that Give list based on some of the biggest news stories. Think of them as Holiday gifts that Help.  Some are serious, some are fun, and hopefully there’s something for everyone. We believe that the items below aren’t just about the gift. They also provide Hope. And that’s often worth more than the price tag.

GLOBAL CONFLICT AND THE REFUGEE CRISIS

A staggering 65 million people have had to leave their homes. 23 million of them have had to leave their country (are refugees). Half of those — over 11 million — are children. It’s the largest amount of people we know of that have had to leave their situation according to the United Nations Refugee Agency . And the children in particular haven’t done anything to be in the situation they are in.

In most cases, these people are in unsafe, unfamiliar and unsanitary places often without family, a real place to live, proper food to eat, good medical care, or even the ability to go to school or just play.

Essentials Kit for a Refugee Family. $50. Save the Children.  

Three Stuffed Teddy Bears and a Creativity Kit. $45. International Rescue Committee.   Yes, the essentials like food, water and shelter are … essential. But sometimes children caught up in conflict need comfort too. You can also watch this inspiring news story about a man who smuggles toys to Syrian children .

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You’d rather wrap something up? How about these colorful bird ornaments made from gourds in Peru. $35. Save the Children.

set of 4 bird ornaments There are a ton more options at a wide range of price points at Save the Children  and The International Rescue Committee . And if you want to get involved a little closer to home, check out the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants where you can volunteer or donate.

And if all you can send are good wishes, 7-year old  Bana Alabed , in Syria , is on Twitter keeping us updated about her increasingly and incredibly difficult daily life. 

POVERTY

Almost half the people in the world — 3 billion — live on less money EACH DAY than the price we pay for a cup of coffee ($2.50). Whoa. And that doesn’t count those considered to live in “extreme” poverty. M ore than 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. One  billion children live in poverty. One billion. Given how much so many of us have, and how little it can take to help, we hope you’ll consider some of the following gift ideas…

This gift stinks!  Poop Power ! aka manure to help fertilize fields to grow food to feed families …  you get the idea.   $12. Oxfam. And it goes straight to those who need it. Phew.

It’s like a Fitbit that helps save lives. The more active you are, the more you learn about other cultures, and the more you earn points to help feed those in need. “Get active. Save Lives.” Kid Power Band. $39.99. Target/UNICEF.

Buy a pair of shoes, give a pair to someone in need. A holiday twist on classic Toms. Toms Glow in the Dark Holiday light shoes. $38. Toms.

Did you know the  U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world?  To help children a little closer to home there’s the  “Shining Faces” note cards. $12. Children’s Defense Fund.

To learn more about children’s poverty issues or to sponsor a child you can learn more at Children.org

HEALTH

Nets aren’t just for basketball … they can save lives too. HTE Kids News has reported about basketball superstar Steph Curry’s amazing skills on the court, but did you know that for every three-pointer he makes (and he makes a lot of them!) he has donated three mosquito nets through the United Nations’ Nothing But Nets organization ? Every two minutes, a child in Africa dies from malaria … something that in many cases can be prevented with something as simple as a mosquito net to prevent bites and the spread of disease. The cost of donating a net? $10 . That’s a win/win.You can purchase them  here.

Friends are so chocolate bar. Dylan Siegel wrote a book called Chocolate Bar to help raise money for his best friend’s rare disease. He’s raised $1 million! But there’s more work to be done. And you can help by buying his book and support this heartwarming friendship. Chocolate Bar. $25. Indiegogo.

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THE ENVIRONMENT

There’s pollution, endangered species, warming temperatures and increases in extreme weather. The bottomline: Let’s be good to our planet .

You know who’s helping save the planet (besides us when we recycle)? Frontline heroes like wildlife rangers, marine scientists and polar researchers. Awesome! Wildlife Ranger doll, stuffed dog, photo, card, bag. $75. World Wildlife Fund.

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One of the best ways to protect our environment is to have children understand how we’re connected to it.   Plant a Seed and See What Grows book. $12.95. The Plant a Seed and See What Grows Foundation.

Sea turtles have been around since before the dinosaurs, over 150 million years. Now they’re nearing extinction. Help Save a Sea Turtle. $25. Changing the Present.

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There was a huge earthquake in Nepal last year and though it’s largely out of the news, people are still recovering from its devastating effects. Sponsor an orphan for an entire year, including food and education. $63. Kids of Kathmandu.  

Or, each animal sale feeds TEN orphans for an entire day.   Giraffe (other animals and colors to choose from). $49. Oja Moon.

STOCKING STUFFERS

The Project 7 company doesn’t just donate a portion of the money they make. When you buy gum, they plant trees. They focus on seven different areas of need — as good for you as eating candy gets! About $1.60 per pack. $8.50 for the Build-a-Flavors. Amazon. Or Project 7.

Soap = Hope. Every bar of soap you buy also gives soap for someone in need to help prevent the spread of germs. And that can save lives in some parts of the world. The best part? You can use the code on your purchase to see where your help went to! $3.99/liquid or bar soap. Soap Box. 

GIFT OF A LIFETIME

Giving will cost the price of the gift, but raising leaders in a world that needs our empathy … that’s priceless. Global Leadership Adventures provides life-changing trips to parts of the world in need where teens 13 and up can make a real, hands-on difference. It’s like the Peace Corps for teens. Trip locations, lengths and service opportunities vary. You can learn more here .

We hope this list has helped and maybe inspired. We wish you a very Happy Holidays!

Eliza Dolgins is a high school sophomore in New York. She loves reading, writing, science, and volunteering. She contributed to this piece. Thanks, Eliza!

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2 Comments on “Holiday Gifts that Help”

  • Magan says:

    Where do you get the build a flavor thing?

    • Claudia says:

      You can get it either from Amazon.com where I ordered some for my kids … or straight from Project 7’s website. The link is both on the picture and in the highlighted part of my writing. 🙂

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