A Gift of Hope

I know it’s two days before Christmas  but if you’re feeling the urge to make a difference this holiday season, I’ve compiled a few ways you can help people directly:

• Heifer International is an organization that lets you (or a group of folks making smaller donations) buy gifts that will continue to help the recipients such as cows, sheep, bees, chickens, goats, trees etc. These gifts provide the recipients with eggs, wool, milk, honey, fruit and more plus proper training so that they can become self-reliant and in turn, sustain their families and communities for the long term.

• Give Naked uses microdonations to help people in dire need of help. 100% of your donation will join the donations of others to fill an urgent need of a specific individual or family. If you like to know exactly how someone has been helped by your donation, Give Naked is a good choice.

• Kiva is an organization that lets people make microloans of $25 to help entrepreneurs around the world, many of which are women, become self-sufficient. Loan repayment is part of the deal so when the loan has been satisfied, you will be repaid.  A small amount of money that many of us would spend on dinner out without a second thought could change someone’s life for the better and, for what it’s worth, Kiva was endorsed by Oprah on her 2010 Oprah’s Favorite Things show.

Bonus: If you give before January 1st, you can also take advantage of charitable deductions for the 2010 tax year!

Upcycled Vintage Silverware

What: Upcycled vintage silverware by Sycamore Hill

Features: Gorgeous vintage silver utensils are engraved with clever phrases and words. There are so many to choose from so make sure you look at everything—they would make great gifts (a hint to my husband)!

Green Factor: Sycamore Hill gives new life to old silver pieces by upcycling them into these fun, eclectic, one-of-a-kind conversation pieces!

Bonus: You can make custom requests!

Find It Here: KK Designs by Sycamore Hill

This Week’s Giveaway: Kill A Watt EZ

Kill A Watt EZ

What: Kill A WattEZ

Features: Kill A WattEZ shows you what appliances really cost to operate and which ones cost you the most! Simply connect an appliance to the Kill A WattEZ and the large LCD display will count consumption by the kilowatt-hour just like your local utility.

Green Factor: Once you know precisely how much things cost to operate, you’re less inclined to waste electricity, which is good for your wallet AND the planet.

Bonus: Kill A WattEZ lets you calculates cost and forecasts by week, month and year.

Find It Here: Amazon

Win It: We’re giving away one Kill A WattEZ to one randomly selected winner! Just leave a comment telling us which of your home appliances you’re most interested in testing and why. Giveaway ends at midnight on 12/20/10; $60 value. Open to residents of the continental US only. Official Rules

Extra Entries: Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to include @greenmomreview in your tweet) and note in a second comment that you tweeted the giveaway (include your Twitter name) to receive an extra entry.

This giveaway is sponsored by Geothermal Genius. Geothermal heat delivers a 400% efficiency rating and can lower your bill up to 70%.

Giving Pillows

What: Pillow covers

Features: 18″ square pillow covers decorated with embroidered artwork and positive social/eco-conscious designs and messages. They come in 13 different designs.

Green Factor: Pillow covers are Oeko-Tex certified and made of 100% organic cotton.

Bonus: When you purchase a Giving Pillow cover, PB Teen will donate $5 to the charity associated with that pillow such as St. Judes Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, DoSomething.org and others. Some select pillows will have a tree planted by Trees for the Future.

Find It Here: Pottery Barn Teen

Giiv = Easy and Awesome

What: Giiv

Features: Enables you to give someone a gift (like a gift card) via text message or email. It’s GENIUS!

Green Factor: Think of how many plastic gift cards are purchased each year—millions! That’s a LOT of plastic. Giiv cuts out the plastic and just leaves the gift with no waiting, shipping or mailing—it really couldn’t be easier or greener!

Bonus: You can use Giiv to donate to charities OR even regift a Giiv gift!

Find It Here: Giiv