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Give back to an animal in need this year instead of splurging on a holiday gift. Photo courtesy of Keith / Flickr via Creative Commons

Gift Guide 2017: Socially Conscious Ways to Spend Your Money (and Time)

It’s easy to get swept up in gift-giving (and receiving!) fever. This year, take some time to give back to the community instead.

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Dumb Friends League

Even if you’re not in the market for a new pet, rescued animals can always use more toys, treats, and belly rubs. DDFL has many opportunities for helping their cause, including donating, volunteering, fundraising, and at-home fostering. Short on time or funds? Animal lovers can do a small deed by decorating a paw decal for DDFL’s Paws to Give event, happening from now until January 1, 2018 at the following locations: Denver’s Quebec Street Shelter, 2080 S. Quebec St.; Buddy Center in Castle Rock, 4556 Castleton Ct.; and Harmony Equine Center in Franktown, 5540 CO-86.

The Hope Tank

Purchase gifts at this socially-conscious gift store that donates a portion of proceeds from each item sold to a local organization in need. From silly socks to puzzles to mugs with sassy sayings, Hope Tank is perfect for anyone who enjoys getting the warm-and-fuzzies from giving gifts that also have a positive impact. 64 Broadway, Denver 

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Photo courtesy of Khala Cloths

Khala Cloth

Want to give back to the environment? Replace the plastic wrap covering your leftovers with these eco-friendly, beeswax food wraps. The Boulder-based company makes reusable cloths that last up to a year, and can be composted at the end of their life—or simply repurposed as fire starters for camping. Plus, they’re made with zero-waste packaging. We especially love this Khala Cloth four-pack; five percent of its proceeds go to Boulder’s Chef Ann Foundation, which supports healthier school lunches for kids. $21, plus shipping

Volunteer

Bring the family to volunteer at a one of the many soup kitchens or food pantries in and around Denver. A few you can check out to start: Grant Avenue Street Reach, the Samaritan House on Lawrence St., Arvada’s Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen, Food Bank of the Rockies, or Cafe 180. Find more ideas in our Get Involved column, which highlights local causes, nonprofit organizations, and charitable opportunities.

Photo courtesy of The Women’s Bean Project

The Women’s Bean Project

Support a local business that advocates for women affected by chronic poverty and unemployment. This organization makes and sells dry food products (like instant meals, baking mixes and spice blends), while employing women in need, like former convicts, domestic abuse victims, and recovering addicts. Check out the Popcorn Gift Bundle, which comes with three different popcorn flavors: Himalayan salt and pepper, salted caramel, and garlic parmesan. Each container makes about 20 cups of popcorn. Buy it online or at one of their local retail partners; Women’s Bean Project products are in all Colorado King Soopers and City Market stores. $23, plus shipping fees, if purchased online

Community Beautification Project

Consider starting a project with the Keep Denver Beautiful initiative and donate your time and efforts to cleaning up a community space. Is there an area near you that needs some work? Maybe the alley behind your house is heavily littered. Maybe it’s time to clean up old graffiti. The Keep Denver Beautiful folks will provide the supplies—all you need to do is show up. For more information, contact Keep Denver Beautiful at 720-913-1311 or [email protected].


Read 5280’s entire 2017 guide to Colorado gift giving.

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