My daughter, Rebecka, recently completed an English project where she had to select a charity and present information about it to her class. After much deliberation, she chose the organization (RED) and created a totally cool PowerPoint presentation about it. I had never heard of (RED) and was intrigued when I learned more about this idea.
Interestingly, (RED) clearly states that is it not a charity, a cause, or a theory, but rather an idea. The idea is to partner with well-known brands to create specific (RED) products and sell them at regular price to consumers. According to the site, the partners donate up to fifty percent of the profits from these products to fight AIDS in Africa. In just two years, consumers have impacted 4 million African lives!!
Of course, as an advocate of simplicity and reduced consumerism, I struggle with this concept to a certain degree. Wouldn’t it be better not to buy the item and donate the money? Probably. However, that is not how the majority of people in this country operate (yet). So, to get large companies like Gap, Starbucks, Nike, and Apple to donate money from profits that would otherwise go straight to the shareholders seems like a pretty awesome idea.
So awesome, in fact, that when Rebecka talked me into buying a pair of Chuck Taylors, I decided that I would do so only if I could buy a (RED) product. I ended up buying the shoes above. The canvas is made in Africa and the back of the shoes have cool graphics which adds uniqueness. And with this purchase, I have helped somebody in Africa get medicine to keep them healthy.
We all need to buy things from time to time. This is a reminder to buy responsibly whenever possible. There are lots of options for this:
- TOMS shoes
- Food from Local Farmers
- Ten Thousand Villages
- Sustainable Harvest
- Fair Trade Food and Flowers
This is just scratching the surface. If you start looking, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to buy to save lives.