Express Gift Guide: Gifts to give that give back

Shopping for everyone on your “nice” list can try even the jolliest of elves. (What did we do before gift receipts?) But as the following products prove, gift-giving can still be a warm and fuzzy experience. Here are some presents that’ll both make recipients smile and help out those in need. Other do-gooder news: Most of these gifts come from Washington-area organizations.

coffee
Sustaining the Buzz
Counter Culture’s Whole-bean holiday coffee contains notes of fruit and chocolate ($14.25, counterculturecoffee.com). For every pound sold, the company donates $1 toward establishing organic farming practices in Burundi, a small java-producing country in eastern Africa. The beans come in a ready-to-give box that doubles as a bank. You’re encouraged to fill it up with change and continue to pay it forward.

Grin & Wear It

shirt

Twice as Warm is a local buy-one, give-one clothing company that donates new apparel and cold-weather accessories to those in need with each purchase you make (twiceaswarm.com). Made-in-the-USA styles include practical knit striped beanies ($24) and clever heather gray T-shirts that swap polar bears for the stars on the D.C. flag ($24). Brian Lieberman launched the company from a pingpong table in his parents’ Rockville basement in 2010. Since then, Twice as Warm has supplied more than a thousand articles of clothing to local homeless shelters.

stach
Ease Trouble Through Stubble
After the loss of his close friend in combat, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Nicholas Karnaze wanted to assist vets with war-related strife. Earlier this year, the D.C. resident launched Stubble & ‘Stache, a face moisturizer/beard conditioner ($34, stubbleandstache.com).Fifteen percent of proceeds go to charities that support wounded servicemen and servicewomen.

Raising the Chocolate Bar

chocolate

It’s been said that chemicals found in chocolate can boost your mood. Equally as grin-inducing? The fact that a share of Divine Chocolate’s profits go to the fair-trade co-op in Ghana where the cocoa is grown (divinechocolate.com). Holiday flavors from the company — which is headquartered in Southeast D.C. — include milk chocolate bars with bits of spiced cookies ($4) and dark chocolate ginger thins (above, $8.50).

art
Art With Heart
For some people with disabilities, self-expression can be a challenge. That’s why Art Enables (art-enables.org) provides a creative space where developmentally challenged people can communicate through art. The paintings and sketches made there are available for sale at the Art Enables gallery and studio (2204 Rhode Island Ave. NE; 202-554-9455), and 60 percent of the profits go directly back to the artist. Expect such cheery portraits as Jermaine Williams’ “Davis Williams” ($180) and Michael Knox’s “Mask” ($90). You can commission a piece, too, and a majority of the art comes framed.

Lens, a Helping Hand

glasses

Waveborn is a local company with vision. Founded in D.C. in 2011 by Mike Malloy, the company donates a pair of prescription glasses to someone in need for every pair of sunglasses sold (waveborn.com). Styles include the retro Bayside ($180), the sporty wraparound Zuma ($180) and the Cali-cool Pacific (at left, $240). All frames are made in Milan from cellulose propionate, and lenses are made from polycarbonate. Translation? They’re luxurious, lightweight and scratch-resistant.

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of The Washington Post Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at holley.simmons@wpost.com.
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