Archive for : Chanukah

#8Nights of Hanukkah Service: Give Unexpectedly

Join Repair the World in celebrating the #8Nights of Hanukkah service as we dedicate the Festival of Lights to helping others. Each day we will suggest a service project, donation opportunity, or other way to spread tikkun olam and get involved for the holiday. After all, Hanukkah is a holiday of miracles – why not make some? Tonight: Give unexpectedly.

We’ve all got long holiday shopping lists. There’s mom and dad, bubbe and little sis. Add on best friends, teachers, and your significant other and that’s a lot of Hanukkah prezzies to coordinate.

But this year, we invite you to think about your Hanukkah gift list a little more broadly. There are so many people who make a huge difference in our daily lives in little ways. There’s the barista who always remembers your order. There’s the UPS driver who walks your packages up to your door, and the blogger you’ve never met who writes something that makes you cry tears of relief/recognition/happiness.

There’s the teacher you had in 5th grade who’s voice and wisdom you still hear in your head all these years later. There’s the nurse at your doctor’s office who comforted you at your last appointment, and the guy in the subway who makes your commute better by playing his fiddle.

Whatever and whoever these people are, our interactions with them make our days a little brighter. And these moments of tiny, quiet kindness bring light into our year the way the Hanukkah menorah brings light to our homes.. So this year, be ready to surprise them with a Hanukkah gift when they least expect it.

There are a million ways to achieve this goal, but here’s one idea: Make up a bunch of cards (MOO lets you make super stylish ones – or just print out something simple out on your computer) with an image you love on one side and the words “Thanks for making my day brighter. Happy Holidays” on the other. Carry a handful of them around in your bag along with some chocolates. Whenever you have an encounter with someone kind, hand over a card and a chocolate along with a smile.

You’ll make their day – and their holiday – as much as they make yours.

Keep your eyes peeled for each service gift idea – and this Hanukkah, let your spirit for volunteering last for eight days and nights!

#8Nights of Hanukkah Service: Give Information

Join Repair the World in celebrating the #8Nights of Hanukkah service as we dedicate the Festival of Lights to helping others. Each day we will suggest a service project, donation opportunity, or other way to spread tikkun olam and get involved for the holiday. After all, Hanukkah is a holiday of miracles – why not make some? First up: give the gift of information.

Let’s face it, the news these days can be more confusing then illuminating. On this first day of Hanukkah, give your loved ones and the people in your wider community the chance to get informed and empowered with knowledge. Here’s how.

Give: Magazines. Purchase your friend a yearlong (or two years!) subscription to The New Yorker, the Economist, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Tablet Magazine, or another magazine that offers in-depth, reported pieces on stories that matter.

Give: Books. Same idea as above, but replace a timely, thought provoking book in the place of a magazine. Ta-Nehishi Coates’ Between the World and Me and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai are two great options.

Give: Education. Make a donation to DonorsChoose, a website that lets classroom teachers crowdfund supplies and educational resources they need for their classrooms.

Give: Experience. Nothing teaches quite like reflecting on one’s personal experiences. Volunteer at an organization like 826, a writing and tutoring center that gives young students the incomparable opportunity to share their stories.

Keep your eyes peeled for each service gift idea – and this Hanukkah, let your spirit for volunteering last for eight days and nights!

Spotlight On: Divine Chocolate’s Sustainable Gelt

Chocolate gelt is a fun part of any Hanukkah celebration. Who doesn’t love unwrapping a glinting gold or silver foil wrapper to find a piece of chocolate inside? In recent years, a handful of chocolatiers have started turning out artisanal versions of gelt – “gelt for grownups,” as they call it, which focus on using high quality ingredients.

But we are particularly enamored with the coins made by Divine Chocolate. Available in both milk and dark chocolate, they are creamy and sweet – just about as tasty as gelt can get. But even more excitingly, they are made from fair trade sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. That means, the farmers who grow the ingredients get paid fairly for their labor. (It is also kosher certified by the OU.)

Recently, Divine started partnering with Fair Trade Judaica and T’ruah to make their gelt available to a wider audience. 10% of all sales will go directly to these organizations’ work to end child slavery in the cocoa fields.

Delicious gelt without the guilt that also does serious good for the world? Sounds like the formula for a happy Hanukkah to us.

Find out more about Divine Chocolate’s Hanukkah gelt on their website.

On Chanukah: 8 Nights, 8 Gifts That Give Back

Adam Sandler got it right with his famous Hanukkah song on SNL: “Chanukah is the festival of lights. Instead of one day of presents, we get eight craaazy nights!” Well, almost right. It’s true that there are 8 nights of Chanukah, but this year, instead of giving the same old presents, delight your friends and family with meaningful gifts that really give back. Here are some of our faves for 2014:

1. CSA Subscription
Give your loved one a season’s worth of delicious veggies and fruits by joining together with a couple of friends to sign them up for a CSA. Your friend will get lots of great food, and you’ll support the work of a local farmer.

2. Krochet Kids
Support this international non-profit that empowers people through the creation and sale of knit and crochet hats. Keep your loved one’s warm, and make a difference while you’re at it.

3. Donate in Their Honor.
Got a friend who feels passionately about an organization’s mission? Make their holiday by making a donation in their honor to support the org’s work.

4. Give a Goat
Heifer International empowers people to purchase livestock for families in developing rural countries. Make a difference in a community’s life by donating to “give a goat” in honor of your loved one.

5. Membership to Botanical Garden
Buy your loved one a year long membership to their local botanical garden. They’ll have fun wandering through the trees throughout the whole year. Meanwhile, you’ll support the gardens’ ecological and educational initiatives.

6. Punjammies
Get a pair of these beautiful, sari-inspired pajamas sewn by women in India who have been rescued or who escaped from a life of forced prostitution. Your purchase will have your loved one sleeping in style, and will support the work of an amazing organization.

7. VWU Certificate
You have heard of an IOU certificate. Do one better and make them an VWU (volunteer with you) certificate, good for one day (or more) of volunteering together at the organization or cause of their choice.

8. Beauty + Ethics
Have a friend who is obsessed with lotions or fancy soaps? Buy them something delicious (and certified cruelty free!) at The Body Shop (“beauty with heart”) and your purchase will help support campaigns against animal testing, that support children worldwide, foster environmental stewardship, and more.

Season of Giving: Five Ways to “Give Differently” This Year

Each winter, everyone seems to get into the giving spirit – which is great! There are a ton of ways to make the world a better place – like making an end-of-year donation to an organization you care about, volunteering at a soup kitchen.

But maybe you’re in the mood to change things up and do something different? If so, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 unconventional ways to give in this season of giving.

 Donate Your Old Phone. MTV Act and DoSomething.org are running an awesome campaign to let you donate your own cell phone and help survivors of domestic abuse.

Get Swabbed. Help save a life – all by getting your cheek swabbed and getting signed up for a bone marrow donation registry. Find out how at Gift of Life or Swab a Cheek.

Donate Your Hair. Got lovely long tresses? There are lots of organizations that let you donate your locks to make wigs for cancer patients, and other people experiencing medical hair loss. Check out these organizations to get started.

Write Someone’s BubbeCheck out Reach Out America’s pen pal program to connect with an elderly person as a pen pal. Make a new friend and make their day – and yours!

Donate Your Artistic (or Volunteering) Talent. Life Beat’s Hearts & Voices program organizes artists to perform for people living with AIDS in healthcare facilities throughout New York City. Got talent to share? Volunteer to play, sing, dance, or perform. Or, volunteer to help set up and run the events – no musical skills required.

Got another untraditional way to give? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @repairtheworld!

Season of Giving: Donate Gently Used Coats To Keep Others Warm

It’s that time again: coat drive time! According to New York Cares, 90% of homeless adults need a new, warm coat each winter because they have no place to keep one over the summer months. That means, coat drives play an important role every year in making sure everyone has equal access to warm clothing during the colder months.

So dig into your closet and find any and all gently used, unwanted coats and donate! Here are a few coat drive opportunities across the country:

New York Cares’ Coat Drive: Help this New York City-based organization collect 200,000 winter coats through February 7 to help New York City families who are living in poverty keep warm.
One Warm Coat: This national organization helps individuals and local charities organize coat drives for men, women and children in need. They’ve helped distribute close to 3 million coats since 1992. Help them do even more!
Clothes4Souls: This national clothing donation organization teamed up with outdoor retailer, The North Face, this holiday season. Through December 24, bring your gently used clothing and coats to participating North Face retail locations and help give the gift of warmth.

Do you know about a local coat drive in your neighborhood or city? Let us know by tweeting @repairtheworld.