Every Mother’s Day takes me by surprise. (What? it’s only three days away?) I know I need to do something…send something…fast, but am left empty-handed when it comes to ideas. Yesterday, I got so far as entering my credit card info on a website for flowers, but something made me stop. Surely, there must be a better gift out there – one that can express my appreciation for the women in my life, while at the same time, send some love to the countless mothers around the world in need. A little research later, and I’ve come up with a list of eight meaningful gift ideas for the Moms out there. If you have more ideas, please add them to the comments section.
1. Support Safe Birthing. The International Rescue Committee’s program FromHarmtoHome.org offers a way to donate to mothers across the globe. Choose a lifesaving gift from their website like the Safe Birthing Kit ($24), which gives blankets and clothing to pregnant women fleeing crisis in their homelands. You can dedicate the donation to your mom, and they will send your mom a card via email. Bonus Alert: IRC will match your gift amount dollar for dollar up to $25,000 to support its maternal health programs in Sierra Leone.
2. Donate Diapers. Homeless and low-income mothers shouldn’t have to choose between food and diapers for their children. Food banks and pantries don’t supply diapers, nor do government programs like WIC or food stamps. You can make life a little easier for these mothers by donating diapers through HelpaMotherOut.org. Either donate diapers in person (the website lists drop-off locations) or online by selecting the dollar amount you want to give. Bonus Alert: If Help A Mother Out reaches its goal to raise $25K by May 31st, Huggies will match its efforts by donating 100,000 diapers. Now that’s a lot of diapers.
3. Help Moms in War-torn Countries. In war-torn countries, where women have lost their homes, their husbands, their children–even simple things like a hairbrush or a school book is a luxury. By donating through WomenforWomenInternational.org, you can help provide food, clean water and clothing for women and their children. Women for Women will send a replica of a handmade card created by mothers in their Rwanda program to any woman you would like to honor.
4. Just Say No to Nuclear Bombs. The Ploughshares Fund’s Roses for Peace campaign reminds us that Mother’s Day was founded as a holiday for peace. In 1870, abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe penned the Mother’s Day Proclamation to organize women against the wars that were taking the lives of their sons. (Read more about the history of Mother’s Day here.) For every donation, Ploughshares Fund will send a handwritten card and roses to your mother, and at the same time, go toward eliminating the world’s deadliest weapons: nuclear bombs.
5. Advocate for Violence-Free Homes. All women and tots deserve to grow up in homes free from domestic violence. Futures Without Violence (formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund) helps educate women about their options when confronted with domestic violence. To help support the organization’s mission, send your mom a free eCard via Macy’s Thank-a-Mom Campaign. When you select Futures Without Violence as your charity of choice, Macy’s will give $5, up to $400k.
6. Send Baked Goods That Do Good. Does your mom have a sweet tooth? Consider sending her the Sweet Home Medley from Dancing Deer Baking Company, which includes a dark chocolate cookie, two 6″ espresso and dark gingerbread cakes, maple pecan shortbread nuggets, chocolate chunk brownies and more. (They had me at “dark chocolate.”) The price is $49.99, and 35% goes directly to help homeless mothers and their children fund education, find jobs and move into houses of their own. Alternatively, check out Baking For Good, which donates 15% of your baked good gift to any charity you choose.
7. Give a Gift Card for Global Giving. The perfect gift for the mom who has everything! Send a biodegradable or online gift card, courtesy of Global Giving, which connects you directly to 500 grassroots organizations around the world working to help women become better educated, gain access to healthcare, and more. Choose from projects in Africa, Asia or the Americas.
8. Make a Gift in Memory of Your Mom. Not all of us have moms who are still living, and Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet reminder of that. Charitable gifts are one way to keep your mom’s memory alive in a way that is meaningful. Consider donating locally to an organization or charity that reflects your mother’s heart. Did your mom have a favorite cause? Did she love animals, take pride in her garden, love to read? You might give toward a scholarship to her Alma Mater, send something to a place where she worshiped or spent her time, or build awareness around a disease or illness in which she suffered. Whatever you give, at any level, can be a loving act in honor of your mom.
How will you celebrate the special women in your life this Mother’s Day? Please share your ideas–including any unique gifts–in the comments below.