Meaningful Gifts That Give Back To Charities

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This Christmas, it’s important to support charities whose fundraising efforts have been impacted by the pandemic, here’s how …

Irish artist Lisa Woods, (aka The Abstract Blonde), who is known for her affordable abstract art, is helping raise funds for LauraLynn Children’s Hospice with a collection of 50 specially created pieces, each with their own style. This new “Light Up” collection is fun and vibrant and is rendered in acrylic, chalk and pastels and is characterised by Woods’ appreciation of textures and layers. Each piece measures 20 x 20cm and costs €150 unframed and €200 framed, €50 from each work sold will go directly to this charity. To purchase a piece of unique art and help raise funds for LauraLynn, Ireland’s only Children’s Hospice, go to www.theabstractblonde.com/shop. For more information about LauraLynn please visit www.lauralynn.ie.

Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this new book Irish Air Spectacular, a collection of some 160 photographs spanning 15 years. The photographs capture key moments in Irish life through an aviation lens – such as the visit of President Obama and First Lady Michelle in 2011, Flightfest over Dublin, the All-Ireland football final, the National Ploughing Championships, and a flypast during U2’s Joshua Tree concert at Croke Park. The book is designed and printed in Ireland by the Offaly-based company, Brosna Press and all profits from the sale of the book will go to St Vincent de Paul. Irish Air Spectacular is €35 available to purchase from www.irishairspectacular.ie. A 2021 Irish Air Spectacular calendar featuring some of the photographs from the book is also available to purchase for €15 from the website with a 20 percent contribution going to the St Vincent de Paul.

Galway businesswoman Aveline O’Sullivan has built her business, Bloom in a Box, around delivering support and kind words during both happy and more challenging times. Her latest campaign is designed to break the stigma around men’s mental health and encourage them to #LiftTheLid on their emotions throughout November. #LiftTheLid, encourages people to give a single bloom, such as an orchid, peony or gerbera, to a man in their life, to let them know someone is thinking about them and to start a conversation. As part of the initiative, Bloom in a Box will donate €1 to Mental Health Ireland for every order for the rest of 2020. As O’Sullivan says, “A bouquet is not always appropriate at certain times, whereas a single flower has power and meaning. It represents a moment, and simply says I’m thinking of you and we can get through this”. www.BloominaBox.com.

Check out Enable Ireland’s Jewellery Event, which is currently taking place on eBay.ie where the charity has a selection of new and pre-loved jewellery from Loulerie, Swarovski, Newbridge Silverware and one-off antique pieces. All proceeds will support the vital disability services Enable Ireland provides for over 9,200 adults and children across Ireland. Key pieces worth seeking out include an antique sapphire and diamond ring, a pair of 14 carat gold tanzanite stud earrings and a 100-year-old antique tourmaline and sea pearl brooch made with 15ct gold. Check out some of the items for sale on ebay.ie.

Avoca has partnered with Walk in My Shoes, the mental health awareness campaign from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, which promotes positive mental health, tackling the stigma around mental health. This Christmas, the Avoca team of crafters has designed two products for the Walk in My Shoes campaign; a beautiful candle and pack of paper chain decorations, with all proceeds donated to this worthy cause. The Sandalwood candle is available for €22.95 while the paper chains in a floral print are €8.95. Both items are available to purchase from in store and online at www.avoca.com.

Slightly different is The Hygiene Bank Ireland, a community initiative giving hygiene and personal care products to those in need, which has launched its Christmas #ItsInTheBag campaign. Supporters are encouraged to donate and leave essential and luxury hygiene products at drop off points in Dublin and Galway for distribution this festive season. The Hygiene Bank Ireland was launched last year and has four projects across the country and so far has distributed 45,000 hygiene items into local communities through charity links. Project coordinator Rosie McDonagh says “We are asking people to help us bring some joy this Christmas to families in need by donating essential and luxury items such as shampoo, body wash, nappies, wipes, shaving cream and toiletry gift sets. We will fill and tailor each bag depending on who is receiving it and a Christmas card will be included. It is a heartfelt and practical present for those living through hygiene poverty this Christmas.” There’s also a donation page iDonate page, email [email protected] for more information on donations or visit the regional Instagram pages; @thehygienebankdublin @thehygienebankgalway.

Space NK is collaborating with beauty expert and diversity advocate Ateh Jewel. The Glow Box is filled with limited-edition glow-boosting treats, selected personally by Ateh, featuring some of Space NK’s most desirable brands. The box is priced at €147.50 however it holds a value of over €260. Space NK has also committed a donation of £10,000 to Ateh, when she launches her charitable foundation to support black students through higher education as part of this partnership; www.spacenk.com.

Max Benjamin has launched a festive scented candle with proceeds going to ALONE, an Irish charity supporting older people at home. The hand-poured “White Christmas” candle blends spicy top notes of incense, orange and bergamot, with a heart of cinnamon, cloves and patchouli resting on a base of amber, sandalwood and vanilla. Mark Van den Bergh, Creative Director at Max Benjamin, says of the initiative, “This has been a particularly difficult year in terms of social isolation for older people and Christmas is the loneliest time for many of them. Having elderly parents ourselves we know only too well the importance of social interaction, companionship and support. That’s why we have chosen again to partner with the amazing team at ALONE who work tirelessly to support older people to age at home.” White Christmas retails at €30 with 10 per cent of all profits on the sales of the candle going to ALONE. www.maxbenjamin.ie

Thinking of investing in some Pilates classes, or giving a course to a friend? Then do book ahead at Reform Pilates. They are teaming up with Aware – the Dublin charity which supports those with depression, bipolar disorder and other mood related conditions. If you sign up for its monthly special (€119 for unlimited online classes), Reform Pilates will donate €2 each time you participate in a session. The more classes you do the more others will benefit. Visit www.reformpilates.ie for further information.

Launching this Friday, November 20, is The Anti-Cancer Cookbook in aid of Breakthrough Cancer Research. It comes highly recommended in that it is an evidence-based cancer prevention cookbook, endorsed by the Irish Society of Medical Oncology, the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute, the National Cancer Control Programme in Ireland, and is supported by the World Cancer Research Fund. Packed with recipes and advice from dieticians and cancer experts at University College Cork, it also contains contributions from cooks Georgina Campbell and Derval O’Rourke as well as chef Neven Maguire, whose mother passed away from cancer. The money raised from the sale of this book, which costs €30, will go towards developing new cancer treatments through the work of scientists supported by Breakthrough Cancer Research. The Anti-Cancer Cookbook is published by Cork University Press/Atrium and is available at all bookstores and online at www.breakthroughcancerresearch.ie.

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