It’s been a rough couple days at Buy The Change. The ups and downs of retail, the pressure of the kick-off of the holiday season, a full show schedule, web-site maintenance, web orders (and some days, lack of web orders), planning for our trip to Asia, planning for 2014, and wanting to finish the year strong, have created a whirlwind of emotion at our office. We try our best to support each other and remember the reason we started Buy The Change. It certainly had nothing to do with Google Analytics.
Our company was founded on our passion for empowering women and the belief that we would learn the other stuff as we grew. We have learned so much and each step of the way we learn how much more we need to know. Truthfully, some days it is overwhelming but we’re still here and we won’t quit.
Today is Giving Tuesday which got us thinking about the many small companies and non-profit organizations that were founded on a deep desire to create positive social change, if even for only a few at first.
We encourage you to find the thing you are passionate about, the area of life where you can envision a solution being created one tiny step at a time. Then do something, any small or large something, to put your passion into action.
Giving Tuesday is about donating, it’s about realizing the power of where you spend your dollars, its about giving your time or expertise toward something with meaning.
We realize we are preaching to the choir here. Buy The Change customers are a very socially aware and active group. It never hurts to be reminded though, on the days when things feel overwhelming our two best tools are giving and gratitude.
Here is a small list of companies and organizations that inspire us. They were all started by people who saw a problem that ignited a passion within them. None of them require spending a lot of money to get involved. From creating jobs for women in Africa, to feeding starving kids, to believing that every little girl should have one brand new dress, change is happening one very tiny step at a time.
1. Free The Girls www.freethegirls.org
This group accepts donations of gently used bras in all shapes, sizes and styles. They use the bras to establish rescued women in business selling bras. The concept is a brilliant merging of aid and trade to create sustainable income for women with very few opportunities. All you have to do is take the time to clean out your drawer, drop the bras in a box and mail them.
2. This Bar Saves Lives www.thisbarsaveslives.com
Every time one of these organic, non-gmo snack bars is sold, the company buys a packet of life saving Plumpy Nut for a children’s feeding center in Africa. Plumpy Nut is a mixture of peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar and vitamins that has shown promise for offering cost effective, complete nutrition for starving children. One look at the before and after photos and you will be amazed and inspired. On top of all that, the bars are delicious and nutritious for YOU!
3. Little Dresses for Africa www.littledressesforafrica.org
A simple pattern for making a girl’s dress out of a pillow case has created a title wave of change. People all over the world are sewing little dresses that give joy and hope to little girls, many of which have never owned a new dress. The organization also supplies shoes and mosquito nets. Buy a few pillow cases on clearance and sew dresses while watching a movie, gather a group of friends to sew in community, start a monthly Little Dresses group at your church…..
4. Alternatives For Girls www.alternativesforgirls.org
For 25 years Alternatives for Girls has been helping homeless and high risk girls in Detroit avoid pregnancy, violence, and exploitation. They have grown from a skeleton crew in one small office to a large organization making a difference in an area where the need is extremely high. Detroit is a city in crisis and its children are the most affected, education and prevention are the keys to ongoing change. If you are not in Michigan, find a similar group in your city. Donate and/or volunteer to serve as a mentor. A few hours can change a life.
Creating this list lifted our spirits. We’re reminded how much good there is in the world. We thought it might lift your spirits, just in case you need it too.
We wish you joy!
Kari and Shanan