catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 1, Num 7 :: 2002.12.06 — 2002.12.19


Christmas gifts with conscience

While it’s nearly impossible to find the perfect gift—one that is economically, environmentally, and socially friendly—we can certainly try. For this issue’s feature, we’ve compiled a list of organizations and companies we can support this Christmas which have benefits in addition to the item you purchase.

Suggested ways to practice your principles when gift-buying:

  1. Shop your local businesses and develop relationships with the owners and workers.
  2. Try to buy fair trade items and tell their stories when you give the gifts.
  3. Buy gifts from an organization that sells products to support a related mission that you believe in.
  4. Seek environmentally friendly gifts, like shade-grown coffee.
  5. Consider intangible gifts, like a donation in someone’s name, for a person who doesn’t need or want more stuff.


Their Comments: “Abebooks connects those who buy books with those who sell them, providing abundant selection at affordable prices. Every day, thousands of people find books they want on Abebooks.”

Our Comments: This is a great place to find something rare or out of print. When you purchase something through their site, they send your order to an independent bookstore that has registered their stock with Abe and the bookstore then sends you the item. Abebooks is also part of our *cino affiliate program, which means we advertise for them for free and then when someone links to them through our site and buys something, we get a 10% commission.

Also Check Out: Powell’s Books sells new and used books and are also part of our affiliate program.

Bible League USA

Their Comments: “All over the world, the Bible League is known for helping ordinary Christians and churches grow. If you want to leverage our experience to see results—in your church, your small group, or your personal relationships—check out our programs.”

Our Comments: Their planners with daily verses and Scripture readings are a great way to keep the Word in front of you. They also sell a variety of Bibles and Bible study materials. Bible League USA is part of the larger Bible League organization, which hands out Bibles all over the world and also develops the tools to ensure those Scriptures get used in an effective way.

Bread for the World

Their Comments: “Bread for the World’s 46,000 members contact their senators and representatives about legislation that affects hungry people in the United States and worldwide. We do not provide direct relief or development assistance. Rather, we focus on using the power we have as citizens in a democracy to support policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty.”

Our Comments: BFW has limited offerings as far as gifts go, but they do have books and Christmas cards, the purchase of which supports their unique approach to the problem of hunger.

Also Check Out: sells chocolate gift items, the price of which include an little extra for a donation. The donations then get distributed hunger projects that you choose. Their partner charity is the Irish GORTA organization, whose mission is “to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by helping people to provide for themselves.”

The Breast Cancer Site

Their Comments: “The Breast Cancer Site was founded to help offer free mammograms to underprivileged women nationwide — women for whom early detection would not otherwise be possible. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women ages 40 – 55.”

Our Comments: You can visit the site daily to click on corporate sponsors and “donate” free mammograms or you can purchase gift items from the site. It’s a neat thing to be able to see numerically how your support is beneficial.

Also Check Out: The Hunger Site, The Rain Forest Site, The Child Health Site, and The Animal Rescue Site -sites that have the same theory for different causes.


Their Comments: “Djangos is dedicated to providing the best music and movies, in the best condition, at the best price possible. With the broadest selection of artists and titles that you’ll find anywhere, we hope to showcase the hidden treasures as well as the pop classics. And with equal attention to quality product, speedy delivery and helpful customer service, Djangos provides a value that can’t be beat.”

Our Comments: Another member of our affiliate program, Django’s recently branched out into electronics as well. Support *cino while you shop!

Also Check Out:, where individuals can “trade-in their used, unwanted CDs, DVDs and digital games for instant online credit towards the purchase of new or used CDs, DVDs or games, eliminating the need for cash or specific trading partners.”

ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization)

Their Comments:ECHO is a Christian non-profit organization located on a demonstration farm in North Ft. Myers, Florida. Our vision is to bring glory to God and a blessing to mankind by using science and technology to help the poor. We strive to supply ideas, information, training and seeds to those working in agriculture and development overseas.”

Our Comments: ECHO has a good selection of gifts for gardeners and nature lovers, including bird-watching items, rare seeds, and cookbooks.

Also Check Out: the Arbor Day Foundation those on your list who love nature and gardening. Their web site has tons of information on trees, as well as gift memberships that include free trees-they’re really small trees, but they’re free.

Global Crafts

Their Comments: “Our Mission is to offer income-generating opportunities to craftspeople in developing countries by following fair trade practices including paying in advance at least the market price for items, ensuring that craftspeople receive payment, and ensuring that the craftspeople work in fair working conditions. We work directly with artisans, craftspeople, and producer groups to achieve these goals and hopefully help improve the lives of some of the people with whom we share this planet.”

Our Comments: Global Crafts has wonderful gift items from Africa. Some of our favorites include the Maasai Beadwork jewelry and their unique greeting cards with hand-painted tin or wire pins on the fronts.

Habitat for Humanity

Their Comments: “Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization. We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 125,000 houses in more than 80 countries, including some 45,000 houses across the United States.”

Our Comments: Habitat sells mostly house-themed gifts (great for the realtors and carpenters in your life), but they also have more universal items like cookbooks, candleholders, and bath salts. Buying from their online gift shop is a good way to support a really effective organization.

Heifer International

Their Comments: “Heifer animals (and training in their care) offer hungry families around the world a way to feed themselves and become self-reliant. Children receive nutritious milk or eggs; families earn income for school, health care and better housing; communities go beyond meeting immediate needs to fulfilling dreams. Farmers learn sustainable, environmentally sound agricultural techniques.”

Our Comments: A great gift option for the person who doesn’t need any more stuff—purchase a farm animal (or a share in an animal) in his or her name that will be given to a family in an impoverished area.

Also Check Out: World Vision International operates on the same principle—giving a gift in a person’s name to someone in need—but they have a wider variety of gifts than Heifer, including blankets, bicycles, and fun boxes for kids.

Pura Vida Coffee

Their Comments: “Remember that you, too, have a big role in bringing hope to children in coffee-growing regions of the world. Every time you buy Pura Vida coffee and products, you directly help provide hot meals, clothing, medicine, addiction treatment and hope to thousands of needy families. That’s because Pura Vida contributes all of its net profits to Pura Vida Partners, its 501©(3) public charity, or other charities, to support this work.”

Our Comments: Their coffee is incredible, especially the Costa Rican Fair Trade blend. They also have a fund-raising program if you wish to sell their coffee to raise money.

Also Check Out: Equal Exchange at for another non-profit company that sells fairly traded, high quality coffee.

Sierra Trading Post

Their Comments: Sierra Trading Post wants to be your first choice for outdoor clothing and equipment. In order to be the best, we follow three simple “We Believe” statements.

  1. That our customers must be given the best possible service.

  2. That we must keep our operating costs as low as possible- to keep your savings as high as possible.

  3. That our business ethics must be consistent with the faith of the owners in Jesus Christ and His teachings.

Our Comments: Our most recently added *cino affiliate! While they have a limited selection of sizes and colors, they have excellent prices because they buy closeouts and overstock from manufacturers.

Also Check Out: L.L. Bean for high quality outdoor gear, excellent customer service, and super product guarantees.

SERRV (Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation Vocation)

Their Comments:SERRV is a non-profit alternative trade organization that promotes social and economic justice for people in developing regions of the world by marketing their handcrafts and food products in a just and direct manner.”

Our Comments: SERRV, a ministry organized by Church of the Brethren, carries uniqueproducts from around the world at great prices. Their items can be found at several retail outlets, but you can also order a print version of their catalog by going to the web site.

Also Check Out: Ten Thousand Villages carries a wider variety of items than SERRV, but only sell through retail suppliers. Check out the web site to find a franchise store in your area!

Discussion: Adding and subtracting

Are there any organizations or principles you would add to the lists featured here? Are there any you would take away? What has been your personal experience with the organizations listed?

your comments

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