Many years ago my friend Laura and I went out to coffee together. I remember hearing her heart for giving money to charities and how she wished she could always do more. Then she said something that has literally played in my head over and over again ever since. She said "I don't have more money to give, but I figure, I need shoes, so why wouldn't I buy TOMs?" What an amazing idea! I immediately started looking at different charities out there and specifically looking at their stores that sell Tshirts, jewelry, shoes, and other accessories which give their proceeds to the organization. What I discovered was amazing!! There are countless places to buy one-for-one items or clothing that is for a good cause. Then you have the many many partner companies that will create a line of jewelry on Etsy just to donate the profits to a charity! You could nearly complete a wardrobe with the stuff that is out there and know you gave a bit of money to people who need it.
In addition you also get to tell people about charity you gave to. When people ask me where I got my favorite 31bits bracelet, I get to tell them about women in Uganda who make them and who get to have an education because of the money I spend. Or when people see my Charity:Water T-shirt, I get to tell them about how there are people who have never had a sip of clean water. Or when people comment on my Falling Whistle necklace (which Aaron and his sister Ashley gave me for my college graduation last year), I get to tell them how children in the Congo are kidnapped and forced into child armies.
Last Christmas I decided to give my families only gifts that were charity based because 1.) I thought they would love the stuff I found and 2.) I wanted them to hear the amazing stories I have heard! My family loved the gift ideas and I cried giving each one to them and telling the stories of the people their gifts were helping! Even for Elsie (who was barely 1 year old at the time), I donated money to World Vision to buy a family a goat in Africa and got a little stuffed goat in return! Elsie loved her stuffed goat! I even donated the remainder of my Christmas budget to World Vision to help other causes.
My family was so amazed by the gifts they got, so this Christmas we all decided to forgo getting each other regular gifts (movies, toys, etc) and instead give each other charity based gifts! I am so excited for my family to do this! I know for me the process of gift giving forever changed me!
So when it came to my wedding, I was wanting to do what I could to give back. First stop - my shoes!!!
This was actually a little selfish of me :) I had wanted Sseko shoes since I first heard about them from my roomie and friend Elisabeth! She went to college with the girl who started the organization. Click HERE to read the story.
They were so cute and after watching Elisabeth wear her's around Disneyland for a whole day, I was convinced they must be beyond comfy! (and I thought TOMs or Crocs were the only comfy enough shoes for Disneyland)
So without further delay - here are my shoes!! Champagne Pink straps :)
I love them!! I tried them on when I got my dress fitted and they are so comfortable. I am going to have fun styling the straps in different ways till I find the wrap I love :)
I will also be buying additional staps to wear them all the time afterwards!
They also now have accessories!!! So as you wrap the shoes you can have a clip to accessorize and style up your sandals!
I love that a piece of my wedding attire will help these women in Uganda and bring awareness. When people ask me where I got my shoes, I will get to tell them these women's stories. Such a sweet reminder on my special day!
If you are looking for some fun charity gifts for the holidays or upcoming birthdays... or just for yourself, check out some of my favorite store below!
Sevenly (This place is amazing!! Every week there is a different Tshirt which gives money to a different charity! They are pretty stylish Tshirts too :) I have one for Mercy Ships and several times people have asked where I got my shirt or what it means, and I have raved about this organization and Mercy Ships alike!)
31Bits (These pieces of jewelry are SO affordable and fun!)
Given (This is a clothing line associated with World Vision)
World Vision is an amazing organization where you can also sponsor a child for a monthly donation. You can also check out the charitable donation that can give families anything from clean water, to a goat. You can also give money toward their efforts to rescue woman and little girls from sex trafficing. Powerful stuff!)
Chains of Grace (associated with Love146)
Roozt (this actually links to several different companies)
To Write Love on Her Arms
Compassion International (This is another organization that allows you to sponsor a child financially)
There are so many more, so please feel free to share any in the comments section!!!