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Shop for Good: 14 Products That Make a Difference

Help your community and the economy when you buy items including collectible action figures, stylish shoes, and Napa Valley wine

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Posted 6 months agoby Ann Marie Brown

    Shopping is a small action that makes a big impact, and where you spend your money matters more today than ever. Hundreds of California businesses are giving back to social causes you care about, and they've made it easy for you to help. Make your dollars work on multiple levels by purchasing these exceptional products from charitable brands.

    Kid stuff for a good cause

    El Segundo-based Mattel Toys, the makers of Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price, has launched its “Thank You Heroes” line of collectible action figures that honor the pandemic's heroes: doctors, nurses, EMTs, and delivery drivers. Buy the toys for your kids—they're available by pre-order through May 31—and net proceeds go to #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative to benefit frontline healthcare workers.

    Music star Sting provided the initial funding for Berkeley's One World Play Project in 2008. Since that time, the nonprofit has distributed more than two million nearly indestructible soccer balls to 60 million youth worldwide. Help the cause by purchasing a blue One World Futbol, which never needs a pump and never goes flat. Five percent of your purchase price goes directly to organizations that help bring playful joy to children in disadvantaged communities.

     

    Kids love backpacks, especially if they're covered in pink unicorns or green dinosaur camouflage, like those made by San Francisco's Bixbee. As part of their One Here, One There program, with every backpack purchased, Bixbee donates a schoolbag filled with supplies to a child in need. The company also makes lunch boxes, duffel bags, and sleeping bags.

    Shoes and clothes that share the love

    Famous for making super-comfy shoes, San Francisco–based Allbirds is giving shoppers the opportunity to buy one pair of their sustainably made, machine-washable sneakers and automatically donate another pair to a healthcare worker through its "Better Together" program. The company has already donated $500,000 worth of soft merino Wool Runners to frontline heroes.

    Everlane's fans fawn over the company's next-gen, modern-basics clothing. Now when you shop the San Francisco apparel maker's 100% Human Collection of tank tops, T-shirts, and sweatshirts, Everlane will donate the profits to Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund, which supplies 200 food banks across the United States.

     

    The surf- and skate-apparel company Vans is helping small businesses survive the coronavirus crisis through its "Foot the Bill" program. The Costa Mesa company customizes its iconic slip-on canvas shoes with the logos of small businesses, then donates the net sale proceeds directly to them. Buy a pair of Vans adorned with logos from Salzer's Records (Ventura), Pacific Marine Mammal Center (Laguna Beach), PLA Skateboarding (Sacramento), Patch Coffee (Lake Forest), Toast Kitchen & Bakery (Costa Mesa), and your new shoes help pay their bills.

    San Francisco's Indosole repurposes discarded car and truck tires that pile up in landfills into stylish flip-flops and sandals. Along with eco-friendly footwear, they're now selling a "Let's Get Food to People Who Need It" organic cotton T-shirt in white or black. Proceeds go toward feeding the hungry.

    Food and drink worth celebrating

    In the last months, news feeds have been filled with photos of farmers plowing over fields of ripe vegetables due to economic disruptions from COVID-19. Even in the best of times, America's food-supply chain creates tremendous waste, and Imperfect Foods aims to fix that. The San Francisco company delivers blemished or less-than-perfect produce and pantry items to customers across California and other states, and it also donates thousands of pounds of produce to food bank partners including Feeding America. Be a part of the food-waste solution by signing up for a customizable delivery subscription here.

    Costeaux French Bakery in Sonoma County is baking 20,000 loaves of bread per month to support the work of the Redwood Empire Food Bank and Sonoma's emergency food network, Sonoma Family Meal. Purchase cinnamon-walnut bread, pound cake, or biscotti bites to be shipped to your home and add on a $5 gift to their Knead Program. With your donation, Costeaux sends two loaves of bread directly to the food banks.

     

    In the heart of Napa Valley, Rutherford's One Hope Wine has a charity-focused mission: "Every bottle supports a charitable cause." One Hope, which also sells gift boxes and gourmet cooking sauces, has raised more than $4 million for global health care, clean drinking water, world hunger, and more. Right now the cause-minded company is sending care packages of Napa Valley pasta sauces to healthcare workers. Buy wine from One Hope's website and 10 percent of the proceeds goes toward these gift packs.

    To help restaurant employees who've taken a tough economic hit during the COVID-19 crisis, you can contribute to the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation Emergency Fund by purchasing wines online. Sign up for the Far Niente Family of Wineries and Vineyards wine club before June 30, and they'll donate $50 to the foundation and other local relief funds.

    Gadgets and gifts that do good

    Purchase coconut-oil face cream, eye balm, lip gloss, or deodorant from Kopari Beauty and they'll donate $1 from every purchase to Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization that helps people affected by disasters, including the current pandemic. The La Jolla–based skincare brand is also a member of Brands X Better, a coalition of companies donating 10 percent of profits to charities during this challenging time.

    Buy a solar reading light or phone charger from the Santa Barbara nonprofit Unite to Light, and they'll supply efficient and durable solar lamps to people around the globe who live without electricity. Choose from the Luke Light, a lightweight, waterproof reading light that's powered by the sun, or a high-powered solar charger and battery bank that can charge your cell phone three to four times and weighs less than a pound.

    As part of its "Spread the Love" campaign to support Redwood Empire Food Bank, Windsor's Lakebound Candle Co. released a limited-edition Love & Light candle made with American-grown soy wax. With every candle purchase, you'll enjoy the scent of clementine, mint, and chamomile for 45-plus hours, and $5 goes directly to the food bank.

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