Remembering things can be easy. Well, maybe sometimes. Of course it is easy to remember those things that bring you joy: the birth of your child, the day you married your best friend, the day you won the the 1.4 billion Powerball lottery, etc.. Having fond memories of things is really easy to remember if they are associated with happy thoughts. It is even easy to remember hardships or tragedies. Although those are not things that bring us joy, they are things that we can’t help but to remember because they can leaving a lasting impression on us. In a world that seems to be suffering at times, well, most of the time really, you cant’t help but feel the impact. If you turn on the news you are slapped with a dose of reality that quickly makes you realize that the problems you might be facing are relatively small in comparison to others. With the recent attacks in Paris to the ones that happen in your own community, many of you may be wondering how do I respond. How do I give back? What can one person do?
Recovering from the devastation’s of this world takes time. It takes time, energy, and resources for a community or country to put the pieces back together. On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring a catastrophic 7.0 on the Richter scale, hit this impoverished nation. The already weak infrastructure of this country was more or less obliterated. Aid came in droves, but very little of it reached the actual citizens. More than 160,000 were killed and close to 1.5 million people were displaced. Thankfully, as we approach the 6th anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, we have much to celebrate despite the utter destruction that took place 6 years ago. While there may still be reminders of how much there is till left to do, the citizens do not let that mark their fate or identity. No! The people of Haiti are coming together and in recent years there has been a movement to continue to help these people through a unique way…gifts that give back! They have embarked on a Trade-Not-Aid mission!
As we reflect on that date (January 12, 2010) and remember the country that suffered such a horrific loss, we can also celebrate the progress that has been made. As apart of my #payitforward Tuesday’s challenge for 2016, I want to challenge you to buy gifts that actually give back. As many of you probably are aware of, there are many companies that are now giving a portion of their sales of an item back to areas in our world that need them. Whether it is a pair of shoes or clean drinking water, there is a movement in our world today that screams “We want to do more!” As you decide what to invest your money on or in this year, make your first stop at Macy’s for gift giving ideas. Macy’s sells unique hand made home décor items from artisans in Haiti.
Macy’s Heart of Haiti has been in support of the Haitian artisans ever since the devastating earthquake hit this economically fragile nation over five years ago. The Macy’s Heart of Haiti line is NOT a charity. Charity is when you give people money or donate goods. With Macy’s Heart of Haiti, people are employed and can make a livelihood, doing what they love most. It’s a sustainable trade-not-aid program where artisans make 50% of the wholesale price of every item sold.
Shortly after the earthquake, Macy’s began carrying this product line featuring an array of beautiful handmade goods crafted by artisans in Haiti. The country of Haiti, rich in the arts, has skilled artisans that make products that are unique and stand out. Haiti has an estimated 400,000 artisans (out of a 10M population) who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. No other sector of employment even approaches such numbers. While other organizations have come and gone, Macy’s has remained in Haiti since shortly after the earthquake, deepening their commitment to this Trade not Aid initiative.
Presently the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line is only available at a few select Macy’s stores listed here: Herald Square, Downtown Brooklyn, Downtown DC’s Metro Center, Chicago’s State Street, San Francisco’s Union Park, Downtown Seattle, Dallas Gallaria, Downtown Portland (Ore), Atlanta’s Lenox Square, Dallas Galleria Mall, Miami Dadeland.
Recently I was sent this beautiful and stunning Heart of Haiti Papier Mache Rectangle Black and White Tray made by Haitian artists. This unique handcrafted home décor item is displayed on our kitchen table as a remembrance of what we have to be thankful for and the importance of giving back. When first displayed on our kitchen table, there was alot of discussion about what it was and what would it be used for. We decided, as a family, that this would be used as our bread tray since we have bread with nearly every meal. We decided that using this as our beautiful tray as a center piece of our table, we would be reminded daily that we must intentionally look for ways to give back. This lead us to talk about how to #payitforward. As the bread tray is passed around the table, each of us takes a piece and tells one way that we either did show kindness or a way that we will show kindness that week.
Of course, the tray does not have to be your bread tray as my family as used it. It can be used in variety of ways in your home. Perhaps you may want to consider the beautiful vase pictured below and display an arrangement of flowers as a centerpiece. Whatever you choose, whether it is something form this collection or another piece from the Macy’s Heart for Haiti collection at Macy’s, check out their collection and give back to Haiti!
“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
Haiti’s artisans have a well-deserved reputation for being able to create something out of very little. The artisans of Jacmel, a beautiful town on Haiti’s southern coast, use paper bags with paste made from local plants to create these beautifully detailed trays and vases. Several of Jacmel’s streets are well populated by small papier mache ateliers busy with the quiet work of molding paper, painting it with intricate patterns or covering it with natural leaves and other plant material.
My hope is that we can talk about making a difference in people’s lives by doing the simplest of things each day. Whether it be leaving compliment cards around town as we shop, buying products that are specifically designed to give back, or paying it forward at the drive thru, I want my family to be aware of what it is we are giving thanks for each year and to give back.
Leaving a legacy for my family and teach them the importance of giving rather than receiving. After all my family has been blessed beyond measure in the area of receiving! Do I think they know what it means to give back–yes! I have taught my kids that it is better to give than receive and I am happy to say that they have done well with this. What I feel I have failed at is that I have not really lived that out! I need to be more of the giver and less of the “teacher.” I have spent my time teaching them what it means in words but not so much in action! So my resolution this year is to simply GIVE!
Shop Macy’s for a variety of Fair Trade Certified Products this holiday season.
While giving to others, you will be giving back!
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I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with a product for review for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.