7 Kids Gifts that Give Back



Clockwise from top left:

  1. One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, by Katie Smith Milway A great book that introduces children to other cultures and the power of giving. Best of all, this book can be found at your local bookstore (great to support local small businesses!) and can be given along with a microloan from Kiva.org or give some chickens to a family through World Vision.
  2. Tegu Made with sustainable materials, these magnetic wood blocks are rooted in giving. Tegu created an independent toy factory in Hondoras in order to provide employment and fair wages for the community. In addition, they partnered with a local school that educates many of the children of the families that work at the city trash dump.
  3. Uncharted Play The SOCCKET Original is a portable, power generating soccer ball designed to promote physical activity and spread awareness about the global energy problem.
  4. Wudy Werks, a veteran-owned, Made in America small business, handcrafts these enormous 3D Double X T-Rex puzzles.
  5. Laugh Brand With every purchase, Laugh gives back 30% of profits to fight human trafficking and exploitation.
  6. Plan Toys Fully transparent with their sustainable materials (such as wood from rubber trees & formadelyhyde-free glues) and sustainable manufacturing, Plan Toys gives back with their reforestation program and programs for children in the community.
  7. Yoobi – For every item bought, Yoobi donates an item to their Yoobi Classroom Pack, which is then distributed to classrooms, as determined by Kids in Need Foundation.


Little Ladybug Shoppe

I’m so excited to have Sarah from Life and Grace here to share her service project. I highly recommend visiting her blog, especially to read about her daughter Evie. It is such a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. All the more reason I am so inspired with how Sarah has turned that loss to something so positive: Little Ladybug Shoppe.

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Hi there!  My name is Sarah and I blog over at Life and Grace.  Recently I launched my own little service project, Little Ladybug Shoppe, in honor of my daughter, Evie Caris, who died four hours after she was born.

About six weeks before Evie was born my husband and I had an appointment with a neonatologist at our local children’s hospital to discuss Evie’s postnatal care.  Upon entering the lobby I noticed a young cancer patient sitting near a window, her hair gone from the chemo treatments she was enduring.  She needs a headband, I thought.  I vowed then and there to somehow find a way to make headbands to give to little girls like this one.

Not quite five months later, Little Ladybug Shoppe was born and donated several sets of headbands and accessories to the oncology floor at that same children’s hospital.  And now another unique opportunity has presented itself.

Little Ladybug Shoppe will soon begin working on 50 sets of hair accessories and 50 superhero capes to be given out to the patients of Edmarc Hospice for Children.  And the best part … I will be able to personally distribute these items at their Family Picnic in June.  So unbelievably exciting!

Certainly it’s a lofty goal to attain, but not impossible.  Here is where you come in:

Ways to give:

  • Donate money!  You can donate to the Little Ladybug Shoppe through the paypal button on my blog (located on the right hand sidebar). All donations will be used to purchase the supplies needed to create the hair accessories and superhero capes for Edmarc’s patients.  My estimate is that it will cost somewhere between $400-$500 to create these items.
  • Donate supplies!  Here is a list of items needed: nylons (any and all colors, preferably bright, fun ones), plain metal alligator clips, or fabric (again, bright fun colors, preferably solid or with a very subtle pattern).  If you’d like to donate any of these supplies, please email me at sarahjrieke@gmail.com and I will give you my mailing address.
  • Purchase an item from my amazon store!  All proceeds will go toward purchasing supplies for the Little Ladybug Shoppe.
  • Purchase ad space!  If you are a blogger or business owner, consider purchasing ad space on Life and Grace.  Again, all money made through my blog will go directly into funding the Little Ladybug Shoppe’s service projects.
  • But most importantly … be inspired!  I truly am humbled and touched that you are interested in donating to the Little Ladybug Shoppe, but I would love for LLS to inspire you to create your own service project.  Maybe you can host a craft show to help fund a friend’s adoption or hold a car wash to benefit a food bank in your area.  Many not-for-profit organizations have a “wish list” on their website – maybe you can think of a creative way to provide some of those much-needed items.  
Thank you again for your interest in the Little Ladybug Shoppe.  My hope is to continue to provide handmade items to lift the spirits of terminally ill children, and to inspire others to think of ways to reach out to those in need in their own communities, all in honor of my sweet Evie-girl.  

Do you have a service project or giving story to share? Email me!



Donate school supplies and other ways to help children

I stumbled across JustGive.org‘s blog, the aptly named Just Give Blog,  the other day. A blog after my own heart!

Looking for ways to help children? Check out their post, 50 Ways to Help Children, for some great ideas.

My favorites?

12. Create a “Back to School” day drive. Collect and/or purchase school supplies for children at shelters — pens, pencils, art supplies, notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, and the like — so they have what they need for their first day of school.

14. Volunteer to help a child in a shelter with their reading or math.

18. Become a pen pal to a child in the hospital.

39. Become a CASA volunteer. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers are assigned to research an abuse or neglect case. They make recommendations to the judge to help them make an informed decision.

The “Back to School” supplies idea is timely! As you load up on notebooks and pencils, consider buying a few extra to donate. Consider reaching out to a local homeless shelters to find out what is needed. Ask about the grades/ages of the children, if they are boys or girls, etc to help buy appropriate supplies.

You can even take it one step further and offer to help out with homework/tutoring for the kids to whom you’ve given school supplies!

A quick googling showed that there is Project Back to School for the Coalition for the Homeless in New York. Call their hotline 212-776-2112 or email backtoschool@cfthomeless.org for more information.

Staples is also holding a school supplies drive, Staples for Students, from July 1- Sept 15. Buy a few extra school supplies and drop them off in the store. The supplies are then distributed. Even a little bit helps. Share this with friends via DoSomething.org Staples for Students page, and they will donate $1 for every share to go towards supplies for students in need.

Any gift, however big or small, is still a gift and is still a help.

Hide & Seek Hearts. For you, from us.

Remember back when the boys made all of those clay hearts? We brainstormed different ways we can distribute these little gifts, and to whom we should give them. I will be honest about my gang – they are imps. So it is only fitting that we decided to hide them all over town (and really, everywhere we go), so that friends and strangers alike can find them.

Well, we finally got around to putting them into gift packages. (A week of vacation and a week of vacation recovery kind of delayed everything.) I whipped up a little note and the boys took care of assembling everything.

Why are giving these little nothings away? Just because. How fun would that be to find one? It’s a little reminder to the recipient that they are loved. They are loved by their family. They are loved by friends. But most importantly, they are loved by their Father God.

The final product. Be on the lookout! They may show up in your home, the grocery store, the post office, on your car. As a very wise Peter Brady once said, “Expect it when you least expect it.” And know that you are loved.

Teaching children to give?

How should I teach my children to give, to teach them a servant’s heart? I have no idea. I am spending time trying to plan out activities this summer that allow us to serve others. But how much can (almost) 5 year olds get? How much can they do?

We’ll soon find out. We will have to learn by trial and error.

In the meantime, the boys and I piled up on the daybed this morning to try to brainstorm ideas of things we could make and give away to strangers. Below is a preview!

While we were rolling the clay, I asked the boys why we should love other people, including strangers. One said quietly  “because Jesus tells us to. And he also tells us to give.” Mind blown. There is such joy in my heart! (Keep in mind, the other two were busy telling potty jokes while this was going on…)

We are excited to get started with our plan to give these away, but still have a few things to do. My boys are imps (they get it from me), so our method for distributing will be fitting.

Stay tuned!

Help two young sisters raise money for orphans…only $1700 to go!

So remember when you were 6 years old? Yeah, me neither. Wait, I remember one thing from when I was 6 – I set a new swimming record at our local pool. It was quickly broken a year later, but this still remains a highlight of my life. I like to think I peaked early.

But you know what I wasn’t doing when I was 6? Thinking about other people. Let alone actively selling crafts online to raise money for orphans. Two sisters, daughters of a friend of mine, are doing just that. They started by saving money in a jar in order to purchase something through the World Vision catalog. Their hearts fell on donating a safe home for orphans, and set out to save/earn the $5100 price tag. $5100! I think if you asked me how much $5100 was when I was 6, I think I would have told you that was the cost of a bag of jelly beans.

After brainstorming and praying about ways to raise money, they launched Heart & Felt this past Christmas to sell their handmade felt ornaments online. They even made felt hearts for Valentines day.

They are currently about $1700 away from reaching their goal. They made over $3300!

I can’t get over their selflessness! Most adults don’t go to this effort to make money just to give it away! (The exception that comes to mind is Al Andrews. Did you buy his book yet? Go do that…)

Their amazing mom, Andrea, a sewing superstar, just launched Go To Patterns. Her signature dress pattern is only $10. It is for 12 months -12 years, with tons of sleeve, length, and waist options. And the best part? The proceeds from the first 100 patterns sold goes to her daughters’ orphanage fund!

How can you help?

Go to Heart & Felt and make a donation. (Seriously, if you passed these amazing girls selling brownies in your neighborhood, you would totally drop $1. Why not just go online, donate that $1 – or more! – and open a pack of Oreos at home.)

Purchase a pattern from Go To Patterns and get sewing. Who knows, maybe you could even sew a dress for a child in need with that pattern?

Pass it on!