Buy With Heart is a grassroots campaign that aims to educate the community about the concept of “Social Enterprise,” introduce consumers to local businesses that utilize this model, and highlight a wide spectrum of Social Enterprise products and services. Unlike a traditional non-profit, a Social Enterprise produces competitive products and services to generate revenue (often in addition to typical fundraising such as grant-writing and capital campaigns). Just as products labeled “organic” or “eco-friendly” tell consumers how a product is sourced, the Buy With Heart symbol lets consumers know that the businesses behind their products are driven by a social purpose.
Buy With Heart Social Enterprises create change for a variety of underserved populations in Rhode Island, from recent refugees to underserved youth to persons with disabilities. Like the people these businesses serve, the products they offer are just as unique and diverse. Buywithheart.org highlights a wide range of products for every price range and interest. We did some of the research for you, and put together a list showcasing top 10 Unique Gift Ideas from Social Enterprises. When you buy from a Social Enterprise this holiday season, you not only send a thoughtful gift to a person you love, you and the recipient both create change in your local community. Talk about spreading the holiday spirit!
Top 10 Gift Ideas for Kids and Families:
1.Â Family Photoshoot from RiverzEdge Arts Project: Give a fellow parent the gift of high quality family photos in a setting that is fun and interesting for the kids. RiverzEdge Arts Project provides underserved teens with training and employment in the arts at their energetic studio in Woonsocket. The Riverzedge photo team will bring youthful creativity and flair to your photoshoot, as well as professional, high-quality prints that a family will be able to enjoy all year round!
Price: $50-$150 depending on the package and the setting.
Where to Buy: Email email@example.com
2.Â T-Shirt from Happy Shirts:Â Happy Shirt’s founder Eric Anderson creates shirts “that represent the things that make you happy – from hobbies to animals, professions, activities, sports, and just plain old fun stuff.”Â Each shirt displays a colorful design and the tagline “my happy.”Â Happy Shirts also adopts a “one-for-one model,” and sends a t-shirt or onesie to a child or refugee around the world for each shirt purchased. This makes Happy Shirts both a fun gift and a valuable teaching tool for a child in your life.
Where to Buy: www.happyshirts.net or stop by Sparks Toys, 371 Putnam Pike Smithfield Commons Smithfield, RI.
3.Â Courses at The Steel Yard: The Steel Yard is a refurbished Steel Mill-turned funky arts space in the Industrial District. Course offerings include ceramics, glass, blacksmithing, jewelry and welding and are open to youth over age 15. Fortunately, the Steel Yard offers gift cards so there is no need to pick out a class yourself. Perfect for that teenager on your list who is notoriously hard to shop for!
Price: $240 – $300
Where to Buy: Check out course listings and pick up a gift certificate.
4.Â Apparel from Broken Pieces International: Broken Pieces offers a variety of fashionable clothing and accessories for youth and young adults. All sales support Broken Pieces’ programs to support recent youth immigrants from Africa. Favorites include the “Speak Peace” t-shirt, messenger bag with African prints, and women’s skirt made with African-print fabric.
Price: $20-$40 per piece
Where to Buy: http://brokenpiecesintl.com/
5.Â Studio Session at PeaceLove Studios: PeaceLove Studios is a collective of artists advocating on behalf of individuals suffering from mental illness. Open studios offer the public a chance to explore their artistic abilities, and are a perfect way for parents to introduce art to their kids. A $25 gift card will get you access to five sessions. Ongoing Sessions: Tuesdays from 12:30-2pm, Wednesdays from 1-2:30pm, Thursdays from 10:30-12pm, and Friday from 10:30-12pm. Other times may be available. Please call ahead.
Where to Buy: Find a gift card for studio sessions and other unique gifts at shop.peacelovestudios.com/filter/category/gifts
6.Â Sponsor a Child as part of Flying Kites International: Based in Newport, RI. Flying Kites uses an innovative residential model to care for orphaned children at their orphan care center in Kenya. Instead of giving a gift, Pledge to sponsor a child in the name of a child in your life.
Price: Sponsorship runs upwards of $144/ year. Or make a donation in any amount!
Where to Buy: www.flyingkitesglobal.org/sponsorships.shtml
7.Â Full Share or Half-Share CSF from Ocean State Fresh: Ocean State Fresh is a Newport-based Social Enterprise that aims to ensure that “fresh, local seafood stays fresh and local”. A CFS or “Community-sponsored fisheries” share or half-share will give you a great deal and provide a family on your list with a great deal of fresh Seafood. A half-share will deliver 1-2 pounds of filleted fish or the equivalent value of lobsters, crabs, and seafood each week.
Price: $300 for half-share, $510 for full share
Where to Buy: www.oceanstatefresh.com/ShopFresh.html
8.Â Two Commercial Cleaning Sessions with Keep It Clean:Â Great for the busy parent on your list who also doubles as a small business owner! Keep it Clean provides job training and employment for persons with developmental disabilities. For a Holiday gift, they are offering two consecutive 2.5-hour commercial cleanings (not a residence or home) for $200.00. The fine print: the two cleanings have to be scheduled either once a week for 2 consecutive weeks or once every other week within the same month. The location of the cleaning service has to be within a 10-mile radius of Providence,Â Rhode Island. The cleaning service can only be provided between the hours ofÂ 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. No holidays, No exceptions.
Where to Buy: Email Cathy Salerno at firstname.lastname@example.org
9.Â Artisanal Granola from Providence Granola Project: Give the gift of healthy, delicious, and locally-made granola! The Providence Granola Project employs recent refugees who would otherwise find it difficult to earn a living. The company also knows how to get creative, and offers a different flavor of granola each month. We suggest spoiling someone on your list with a Deluxe Holiday Gift Pack, or being extra generous and signing them up for the ‘Granola of the Month’ club.
Price: From $6.95 for a 12 oz. bag to $35.00 for a 5 lb. bag. Deluxe Holiday Gift Pack: $99. Granola of the Month Club: $65.70 – $262.80
Where to Buy: http://providencegranola.blogspot.com/
10.Â Kid or Adult Bike from Recycle-A-Bike: Bikes are a great way to stay fit and have fun, and Rhode Island boosts several spectacular bike trails. Recycle-A-Bike rescues bikes from the landfill and refurbishes them, with the help of volunteer, expert mechanics. Proceeds directly support RAB educational programs.
Price: $50- $300
Where to Buy: Contact email@example.com to learn about bikes in stock.
Cookie Place Cookies: Sales of these award-winning cookies also provide job training and professional development for people with disabilities.
Price: $11.99 for 1 Â½ Dozen Cookies.
Where to Buy: 280 Washington St # 1Â Providence, RI 02903
phone: (401) 351-8789
Glee Gum: This delicious gum supports sustainable harvesting of chicle, the all-natural ingredient found in Glee gum. Glee Gum also offers the “Make Your Own Candy” kit for creative kids and adults alike!
Price: $10 for one case (12 boxes of gum) Make Your Own Candy Kits” 3 for $30
Where to Buy: www.gleegum.com
Inspire Green Water Bottles: This Social Enterprise, started by students at Bryant University, produces eco-friendly water bottles with built-in filters.
Price: $14/ bottle
Where to Buy: www.inspiregreeninc.com/order-here
RiverzEdge Arts Project T-shirts and Stationary: Sales of these youth-designed products support art education and employment for underserved teens.
Price: $5- $20 per product
Where to Buy: riverzedgearts.org/shop.html
Gifts for Teachers:
Providence Granola Project Granola: The Providence Granola Project creates original, delicious granola recipes and employs recent refugees who would otherwise find it difficult to earn a living.
Price: From $6.95 for a 12 oz. bag to $35.00 for a 5 lb. bag
Where to Buy: http://shop.providencegranola.com/
Runa Tea: Sales of Runa Tea facilitates sustainable development for indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Price: $6.99/ box of 15 tea bags
Where to Buy: www.runa.org
PeaceLove Holiday Cards, T-shirts, and watches: PeaceLove merchandise supports expressive arts programs for persons with mental illness.
Where to Buy: http://shop.peacelovestudios.com/
RI Harvest Kitchen Applesauce: The Rhode Island Harvest Kitchen Project is a social enterprise of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, and provides culinary job training to at-risk youth.
Where to Buy: Farm Fresh Wintertime Farmer’s Market at Hope Artiste Village, Saturday 10 am To 1 pm.
House of Hope Boutique Products: House of Hope Boutique employs women transitioning out of homelessness to create one-of-a-kind original purses, totes, and wine bags using repurposed materials. Stop by HOHB’s brand-new storefront to pick up a gift!
Where to Buy: House of Hope Boutique, 3190 Post Road Warwick