World Aids Day

A reminder that today is World Aids Day. (Some are wearing Red).

Check out some of the links that are trying to find solutions to the problem that is killing 8500 people a day.

Christmas Shopping With a Cause

– From this on the Relevant website (subscribe to their magazine – it’s a great gift to ask for or to give). Now, some of what is suggested, I am a little uncertain of, like buying jeans for $150 so that some goes to charity (why not actually donate $150?) but the spirit of giving has to include those outside our close family and friends.

“Christmas Shopping with a Cause”
Written by Danny Miller

Philanthropy is becoming more and more the norm for Americans, with recent studies showing that “no other country comes close” to private charitable giving (in 2004, privately, Americans gave $24.2 billion). And combining American holiday consumerism with a passion for international giving is the latest in philanthropic fashion. The trend, which first started turning heads a few years back with bright yellow LIVEstrong bracelets, has gained even more steam as of late. Headlines and trend-watchers have been abuzz over (product) RED, a line of products (including jeans, iPods, cell phones and credit cards) that donates a portion of proceeds to fight AIDS in Africa. Backed by heavy hitters like Bono and Oprah, (product) RED is everywhere this holiday season. Gap Stores across the nation sold out of RED jeans within days of their release (at $150 a pair, by the way). Charity is in, in a big way. Beyond RED, there are lots of options this holiday season to truly get into the spirit of giving, enjoy your Christmas and give to those in need.

TOMS Shoes
TOMS Shoes’ mission is simple. Buy a pair of shoes from their store, and they will donate a pair of matching shoes to a child in need. Founder Blake Mycoskie spent time in South America and saw the field workers wearing alpargatos, a durable traditional slip-on shoe. He was inspired to come back to the States and found TOMS, bringing the shoes to Americans with fashion sense and bringing more shoes to those in need worldwide. TOMS come in a wide array of colors and designs. They look good, you feel good, children get shoes, and everybody wins.

One T-shirt by Edun
For the fashion-forward activists with a little extra dough for Christmas, consider the One shirt by Edun. The shirt, $40 online or at Nordstrom, is pretty rad and is worn by gobs of hip celebrities. One of the coolest aspects of the shirts is that they are made in Lesotho, South Africa, from all African cotton. When you buy one of these shirts, you support African commerce with the West. In addition to that, $10 from every shirt sold goes toward AIDS prevention and medicine in Africa.

iGive works on a simple premise. Shop online through its website at any of its 650 affiliated stores (Barnes & Noble, eBay, Apple, etc.), and those stores will donate a portion of the sale to the charity of your choice. Through this massive site you can do ALL of your shopping at the stores you normally visit anyway, with one key difference: part of the money goes to charity.

At the Mondonation website, you can customize your own shirts and pillowcases with a statement beginning with the words I believe (I believe in love, I believe my mother screens my phone calls, I believe [fill in the blank]). Mondonation donates a percentage of every sale to a charity you can choose from its well-populated list. I believe you should buy something nice for your loved ones from this website.

Sub City Records
Sub City Records gives a sizeable percentage of record sales to charity. Sub City is known for its philanthropic stance; it also runs the Take Action Tour, which benefits suicide prevention. Buy the entire Thrice catalog as well as the other good music they have for sale, and you’ll help support great causes.

Grounds for Change
Grounds for Change is a fair-trade coffee company based out of the Pacific Northwest that sells coffee from all over the globe. Give the gift of joe knowing that you are supporting farmers from South America, Africa and Asia. In addition to supporting fair-trade farmers the world over, Grounds for Change donates a portion of profits to children’s environmental education programs and uses only renewable “green” energy. Grounds for Change is a member of Co-Op America, an organization of socially responsible businesses. Plus the coffee tastes good.

World Vision Catalog
If you (and your gift receiver) are OK without actual gifts changing hands at Christmas, then check out the gift catalog at You can honor that special someone with the gift of a goat. Although a goat might not seem useful to your friend, it can provide milk and dairy products for a whole family in Kenya. You can donate items such as fishing kits, freshwater wells and wheelchairs to families in impoverished nations across the planet.

What Is the What by Dave Eggers
The newest book from critically acclaimed author Dave Eggers is a fictionalized narrative that closely follows the true story of Valentino Achuk Deng, a refugee in war-torn Sudan who survives militias and wild animals to finally make it to America. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Valentino Achuk Deng Foundation which supports Sudanese refugees in America, to relief organizations in Darfur, to rebuilding southern Sudan and to the college education (in America) of Valentino Achuk Deng.

Hope in the Dark Photography by Jeremy Cowart with reflections by Jena Lee
This book seeks to raise awareness for the AIDS epidemic in Africa through compelling photography paired with powerful reflections. A percentage of proceeds go toward Blood:Water Mission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and promoting clean blood and clean water in Africa.

Danny Miller is an editorial intern at RELEVANT and a student at the University of Central Florida. He has a very socially minded Christmas list.