Lil' Sweet Bites | Hope-Filled Gifts

Here's the second edition of my new series, Lil' Sweet Bites, where I share non-food related things that inspire and encourage me or simply put a smile on my face. Things like new-to-me charities/non-profit organizations, fun/stylish products, worthy reads, music I'm currently jamming to, or quotes/verses that speak to me, and...once in a while I may sneak in some food love. Today, I thought I'd share some gifts that give back as there's still time to get those last-minute Christmas gifts! But really, these are good for anytime gifts as they each serve a greater purpose.

 I have no affiliation with any of these brands/organizations, and have not necessarily tried all of the product(s) mentioned - just lovin' what they stand for and want to share the love.

Hope-Filled Gifts

1 + 2.) FashionABLE products create sustainable businesses and opportunities for at-risk women in Africa. I first heard about them back in the summer via the Twitter/Instagram feeds of bloggers attending The Big Summer Potluck. Then, again when a group of bloggers (which, included food bloggers as well as lifestyle bloggers) were invited on a trip to Ethiopia to see how the women lived, and hand-make the scarves that are available at They also launched a line of leather goods, including the wallet you see above and a women's clutch. You can read more on-the-ground experiences in Ethiopia by Eat, Live, Run. I've personally purchased two of the (Helen) scarves for Christmas gifts and can't wait for the recipients to open them!

3.) B.a.r.e. Soaps - These soaps are 100% natural and handmade by two Jersey girls, one being a fellow food blogger whom I met once at a food blogger conference. I recently reconnected with her on Twitter and saw that she started this new biz - love their mission of bringing antiseptic resources to everyone (b.a.r.e.), starting with Kaberamaido, Uganda. I'm always looking for new all-natural bath and beauty products so I'll definitely be trying out their soaps - they would make great stocking stuffers!

4.) Baird Hope Ring by Gorjana - I was looking for a little bling to add to this little guide and found this cute Hope ring featured in the Lucky Mag gifts that give back post. What's awesome about this ring is that 100% of the proceeds is donated to help end the cycle of poverty in Kibera, Africa. Not many retailers give 100% of a sale so this is impressive. They have a whole section of jewelry and accessories dedicated to various charities.

5.) The Valentine Apron by No.41 - This is another new-to-me social purpose business with a mission of empowering young women in Rwanda. These colorful, sassy aprons are handmade with love in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Each purchase not only provides a stable job and sustainable income to a young woman transitioning into a life of independence, it also provides 68 school lunches to a secondary student. [Note: These particular aprons sold out as I typed up this post but check out their shop for more aprons and other products]

6.) Be Packs - These backpacks caught my attention on Instagram one day as they are an up and coming brand that was inspired by the children in Zambia. The packs are currently being produced and sold at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market right here in New York City (and are also available online). $10 of each purchase supports the African Education Program which, provides education, food, and school uniforms for students in Zambia.

Are you giving any gifts that give back this year?