2016 - A Year of Good

Give Good!

♪♪♪ It's the most wonderful time of the year! ♪♪♪ And the most stressful, because we're all trying to get our year-end done at work, better make those appointments you've been putting off, of course I'll make 8 dozen cookies for the office holiday party, better get the house cleaned before the cousins arrive, does little Joey still like trucks? (I'm tired just typing that).
Let DDG help you out. We've put together a guide of some great gifts for the holidays. There's something for everyone, most can be easily ordered online, and best of all, every one of them gives you the opportunity to support a charity, a local business, or sometimes both. These are gifts that do good, and when you give them, you feel good. Okay, technically the gifts aren't doing good, it's not like a hand-poured candle is about to go serve meals at a soup kitchen, but you're a smart cookie, you get the gist. Oooh, cookies...

1. Jaybird and Ro
For the littlest members of the family. Bibs, blankets, bandanas and bows are handmade by a Silver Spring-based mother-daughter team. Fabrics are fun and whimsical -- what toddler doesn't need a bib decorated with the periodic table or a headband in a woodland vine print? We dare you not to ask, "Do you make anything in this fabric for adults?"
Good Giving: Jaybird and Ro donates five percent of proceeds to DC Diaper Bank.
Where to Buy: Etsy

2. Where in the World Books
As lifelong lovers of reading, we think that books are some of the finest gifts that can be given (or gotten). Where in the World Books is a mobile bookseller offering texts to help children and adults of all ages better understand different cultures. 
Good Giving: One of the goals of the company is to provide books that "(equip) our kids to be good citizens in our democracy,  where civic involvement on specific issues is the key to responsible government," as well as supporting UNICEF and general literacy. As a mobile bookseller, WINWB visits local markets, schools and fundraisers. 
Where to Buy: OnlineBethesda Farm Women's MarketDowntown Holiday Market

3. Urban Farm Plans
For the one with the (aspiring) green thumb. Don't we all have that friend who swears he'll start a vegetable garden "next spring"? Time for the excuses to stop. Urban Farm Plans offers consultation sessions, custom design and installation of equipment, including compost sifters and raised beds -- pretty much everything needed, short of the seeds and the watering can. Sure, it's not really a gift you can wrap, but what's Christmas without a little crafting? Break out the glitter and make a custom card: "Happy Holidays. I got you a dirt box."
Good Giving: UFP proprieters, brothers Eriks and Andrejs Brolis, are dedicated environmentalists and devotees of renewal energy. In addition to providing several options for helping customers compost -- a major waste saver, Urban Farm Plans also sells rain cisterns. Not only do cisterns collect rainwater to be recycled for garden use, they also help decrease runoff. In his spare time, Andrejs is a volunteer with National Park Service. The brothers have collaborated with area nonprofits, including Common Good City Farm, and provide community workshops on urban farming. 
Where to Buy: Contact UFP to discuss the ins and outs of their garden-riffic gift options. 

4. Handmade Habitat
Vegan, environmentally sound soy candles and gifts to soothe the body and soul. Give the gift of winter coziness with an amber and vanilla Nostalgia candle and a tin of soothing cinnamon orange clove Gather tea.
Good Giving: In addition to using eco-friendly materials and piloting a recycling program, Handmade Habitat often pairs with other local, women-owned small businesses that feature handmade items. For the holiday season, HH will donate 10 percent of sales to the National Resources Defense Council. Through science, law, business and advocacy, NRDC works to "ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities." 
Where to Buy: West Elm Holiday Pop-Up (Dec. 15), GRUMP (Dec. 17), Denizen's Crafts & Drafts (Dec. 18), online

5. Kicheko Goods
Kicheko: Swahili for "laughter." Handmade necklaces, bracelets and earrings are crafted at the Kicheko design studio in Washington, D.C. Individual pieces and collections are inspired by concepts such as travel, geometry and nature. Most jewelry is made from metal, wood, fabric, natural stones and leather, all ethically sourced whenever possible. We love this simple, but memorable English Fog lariat and the Hope 71 necklace, which represents the first 71 children to receive year-round scholarships to the Mango Tree School in Eastern Congo.
Good Giving: Every Kicheko purchase provides a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a scholarship to attend school for one month. “In 2014, proceeds from Kicheko were used to help construct a 6-classroom brick school building for the Mango Tree School.”
Where to Buy: Online, Steadfast Supply, 116 King Holiday Pop-Up

6. WritePads
Know someone who's forever sketching or scribbling away? A notebook from WritePads will make a great gift. Choose from a variety of designs, all with a kraft- paper-esque background. There are pocket sizes, steno pads, reporter pads, even notebooks for lefties. WritePad was founded by a third-generation book binder, and all products are made with an eye toward environmental sustainability.
Good Giving: For every notebook purchased, WritePad will donate one to a Baltimore City Public School.
Where to Buy: Online, Brightside Boutique

7. Chocotenango
The gorgeous bonbons from Chocotenango are what the concept of "mindful eating" was made for. Your lucky loved one will be almost reluctant to bite into the sunset ombre of a spicy Maya Chili caramel, then savor the heat of four chilis, the sweetness of caramel, and the bite of dark chocolate. And that's just one flavor! Go for the gift box full of colors and flavors, a tin of hot chocolate (or a trio!) for those blustery winter nights ahead, or how about gifting a chocolate class?! (We're very excited by this concept).
Good Giving: Chocotenango sources cacao beans from farmer-owned cooperatives in the Dominican Republic. A percentage of every bar of chocolate purchased goes to EcoLogic to catalyze community-powered conservation projects in Central America and Mexico.
Where to Buy: Online, also found at gourmet and local food shops throughout the DMV.

8. Leafyhead Lotions and Potions
Leafyhead features all-natural creations to soothe, scrub, pamper and protect your all-natural (or partially natural) body. Owner Tricia McCauley is an herbalist, nutritionist, health coach and yoga teacher (total underachiever, right?). Her products are all organic, sourced locally and ethically as much as possible. We wouldn't mind a man sprinkled with woodsy Gentlemanly Dusting Powder, or how about some ginger- and- cardamom-scented winter Body Butter? 
Give Good: Tricia is the resident herbalist at Common Good City Farm, which offers nutrition and gardening education, and helps fight food insecurity in the District. She offers herbal workshops that help you learn about how to identify healing herbs and transform them into teas, lotions and more. 
Where to Buy: Etsy, Bloomingdale Holiday Bazaar (Dec. 17, 18) 3 Stars Brewing Artists & Artisans Holiday Extravaganza (Dec. 18)

9. Spoil Me Rotten Dog Biscuit Co.
Do you know any of those people who just live for their pets? Oh, you are those people. Okay. Well, let me just remove my foot from my esophagus and direct you to Spoil Me Rotten Dog Biscuit Co., which offers all-natural, small-batch dog biscuits, free of common allergens like soy, wheat and corn. Gift your favorite furry friend (who is also a dog) tasty treats in flavors like duck confit, peanut butter delight and, yes, pumpkin n' spice. What's the over-under on how many humans taste their pet's canine cookies?
Good Giving: In addition to giving your dog a biscuit that's free of fake, nasty crap, a portion of every sale goes to the Spoil Me Rotten Foundation, providing dog biscuits and donations to animal rescue groups.
Where to Buy: Online, Stores throughout the United States

10. Bailiwick Clothing Company 
Here's your gift for that friend who's just full of DC pride. Brothers and Cleveland natives J.C. and Jeff Smith created their line of #DedicatedToDC clothing in honor of their adopted hometown. "...we chose D.C. We weren’t born into it. It wasn’t an arranged marriage. We chose you," J.C. said in an interview with Medium. "We chose D.C. as our prom date, so to speak." 
You won't see sports logos or cherry blossoms here. That's not their, uh... wheelhouse. Dig this scoopneck 202 tee, or how about a soft, cotton call to make DC the 51st state (dare to dream). Bryce Harper wore one over the summer, if that helps. 
Good Giving: Bailiwick partners with The Black Upstart, an organization that trains African American entrepreneurs in the art and science of starting a business. The Smith brothers local Strivers, so called after the Strivers Section neighborhood, the area that has been synonymous with Black leadership since the 1870's. 
Where to Buy: Online





Keep checking in with us here and on our Facebook as we add more give good gifts to our Chrismakwanfestikah list. You can also check out our picks from 2014 (1, 2, 3) and 2015 (style, taste, pet, read, bling, cozy). Happy shopping! #GiveGoodFeelGood

Editor's notes: These products may be available at additional locations, including holiday markets. Retail locations were included if the stockist site mentioned the vendor. Markets or pop-ups were included if the information was on the vendor website. All photos were borrowed from the websites of the respective businesses featured here. 







Fun and Funky Holiday Events

December brings us holiday markets and happy hours galore (plus, this is DC. Happy hours are a dime-a-freakin'-dozen here), but then there's the weird and wonderful, in the parlance of Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" (once and for all, it's not "electric boobs). We'll be keeping you up-to-date on loads of holly-jolly events to bring out the #dogoodfeelgood spirit, but we wanted to make an extra-special good effort to let you know about a few that are a little silly, sassy, fun, funky, funny, offbeat, off-brand, zany et zarbi (that's Verlan, or French reverse slang, for bizarre). 


Blades of Glory

Brush up your Salchows, loop spins and camel toes (wait, no, strike that, reverse it -- toe LOOPS and camel SPINS) for an afternoon of ice skating. Proceeds will purchase a dairy cow and hens, which will provide nutrition and income for children in a Ugandan orphanage. And before you ask, no, the cow will not be purchased in Virginia and transported to Africa -- she refused to fly coach (diva). Come out, have fun, do good, and please remember -- this is not a blood drive: Watch those blades. -- December 11


Mad About Mitzvahs

If doing good spins your dreidel right 'round, join the Jewish Federation's Mitzvah Hoppin' group to celebrate Hanukkah with the residents of Chevy Chase Senior House. A "mitzvah" means a good deed. To our knowledge, there's not a word that means "eating oodles of latkes," but that's always a good idea. - December 18


Cocoa Cheer

See the world in chocolate. Join a tour of some of the most spectacular embassies, all gussied up for the holidays (the buildings, not you, though feel free to get decked out if you want), learn about foreign culture and government, and sample chocolate from around the world. Santa would approve. Please note, this is a walking tour. No sleighs provided. December 18


Rollin' With My Homies

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year again! December is the only month of the year when wearing truly hideoous knitwear is not only socially acceptable, but encouraged. #SantaCause, to benefit Safe Shores - The DC Children's Advocacy Center, not only demands that you whack on your best Ugly Christmas Sweater (it should be a proper noun), but a pair of roller skates as well.  December 23




Grateful Giving

Nothing quite represents the start of the holiday season like the month of November. While we prepare for the upcoming holidays, planning trips to visit family and getting a head start on gift shopping, it can be easy to forget that there are many people who live in our community who are not as fortunate as we are. This Thanksgiving, consider showing your gratitude by helping families in need:

So Others Might Celebrate

Register for SOME's  Trot for Hunger  before the annual gorge.

Register for SOME's Trot for Hunger before the annual gorge.

So Others May Eat is a community-based organization that helps the poor and the homeless in D.C. by providing food and clothing, as well as job training and health care to its clients. Lace up your sneakers for the annual Trot for Hunger, volunteer to prepare meals or staff the dining room, or donate healthy, nonperishables for the SOME pantry. Whether you give in kind or give your time, you get the chance to make an impact. 

How Many Metric Tons of Coleslaw is That?

This is not a false statement

This is not a false statement

Every year, the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center hosts its Everything But The Turkey (EBTT) program to prepare thousands of Thanksgiving meals for those in need. The program takes place from November 20-22, and volunteers can sign up to prepare side dishes such as green beans, stuffing, coleslaw, and more. The food that is prepared will be distributed by DC Central Kitchen to more than 88 homeless shelters and community kitchens in the area.
DCCK is also looking for their own volunteers to help with food preparation and crop gleaning, so sign up to cut, chop, peel or harvesting produce that would otherwise go to waste.

Coats of Arms

What a lovely coat you have, sir.

What a lovely coat you have, sir.

There are more than 15,000 homeless people in DC, and winter is coming. In an effort to help individuals stave off the cold, several organizations are holding coat drives. If you have any gently worn winter coats, mitten, or hats that you would like to give away, here are some resources:

  • Link Against Hunger -- donate winter gear at Sterling United Methodist Church, or volunteer with the distribution process on Nov. 19.
  • Catholic Charities of DC is in particular need of coats sizes XXL and up, as well as unopened packages of socks. Or volunteer to help with organizing donations.
  • Thrive DC is collecting winter-wear, socks, underwear, thermals, sleeping bags and blankets. For more information, email inkind@thrivedc.org or call 202-503-1528. Thrive also seeks volunteers to serve meals, provide administrative support, and help clients in the computer lab.
  • Learn how to organize your own coat drive.

Spread Cheer

The Holiday Project will need December volunteers as well, but first, Thanksgiving.

The Holiday Project will need December volunteers as well, but first, Thanksgiving.

The mission of The Holiday Project is to spread cheer among people in nursing homes and hospitals by arranging visits and bringing the holiday spirit directly to the residents. Participate in visits on Thanksgiving and sing-a-longs in December.

I Think I Can

Canstruction  is a charity art exhibition of sculptures created from unopened cans of food, which are subsequently donated to hunger relief organizations.

Canstruction is a charity art exhibition of sculptures created from unopened cans of food, which are subsequently donated to hunger relief organizations.

Capitol Area Food Bank has several opportunities to give back throughout the upcoming months. Give canned goods and other nonperishable food items at Giant or Harris Teeter, or purchase a $5 bag of wellness items at Shoppers.  All events are happening through November and December.

While the holidays are a wonderful time to donate your energy to helping others, the need for volunteers is year-round. Do not be discouraged if an organization has reached its maximum number of volunteers around this time of year. Your help after the new year will be just as beneficial as it would be in November and December. Do good feel good!


This blog was compiled by Daily Do Good interns Daria Craciun and Dajzia Fratiello








Opportunities for the Philanthropic Theatre-Goer

Upon first glance, D.C. can be seen as a city full of power-hungry politicians and business people rushing to their next oh-so important meeting. The arts are probably the last thing people think of when discussing D.C.’s normal activities. Although D.C. is a bustling city with a knack for brunch and yoga, the performing arts scene is growing and is quickly becoming a favorite D.C. pastime.

Finding good live art that also has a philanthropic base can be a hefty feat. That being said, we have put together a comprehensive list of nonprofits that all give back to their community in some way.

The Forum Theatre -- Offers accessible, affordable and entertaining plays that inspire conversation surrounding issues that are relevant in local, national, and global aspects. Using a pay-what-you-want ticketing system, The Forum celebrates and welcomes people from all walks of life. They encourage their audience members to pay whatever price they want in return for entertaining and well-done theatre. Keep up-to-date on upcoming shows via Forum-Theatre.org or their Facebook page.

Young Playwrights’ Theatre -- All young artists deserve the chance to showcase their creativity. Young Playwrights’ Theatre empowers children through developing confidence, critical thinking, and language skills in order to create beautiful works of art that they can be proud of. By encouraging their students to take control of their academic and creative success, YPT kids are able to visualize how their work can influence the communities around them. Every student has a voice to showcase his or her story, and YPT creates that space in order for every young artist to develop that story. YPT just concluded their final performance for the season on June 13. Check out their website, Facebook page, and watch clips from past performances on their YouTube channel.

This is My Brave, Inc.- “One day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it “brave” when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.This is My Brave is a community that seeks to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness through original song, poetry, and essay which is then published onto their blog and YouTube page. They believe that mental illnesses have been in the dark too long and that it is time to shed light on these issues.

Only Make Believe- Only Make Believe is an interactive theatre group that seeks to bring joy and inspiration to hospitalized children struggling with chronic illnesses. The troupe of ten actors travels to different hospitals in the D.C. area to create a little magic in those stuffy hospital rooms. OMB is always seeking volunteers to help sew costumes, set up the playrooms, or even just be a helping hand.

THEARC- THEARC is run by Building Bridges Across the River, which is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of those who live east of the Anacostia River. THEARC provides access to educational, cultural, recreational, health, and social service programs. Everyone deserves a chance to engage and participate in theatre and art, and THEARC hosts various theatrical events in their space, including plays, musical productions, round table discussions, and more. THEARC has many shows playing in July. To find out more, check out their website.

About the Author: Madison Kendrick is a summer intern at the Daily Do Good. She studies marketing and political science at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Madison is a longtime dancer and arts enthusiast.

Puppy Love

I did not know what to expect on my first day as a dog handler volunteer at an adoption event for Lucky Dog Animal Shelter, but my overall experience was uplifting. I pictured myself walking and playing with the dogs all day, but I found that the reality was much different as soon as I was given my dog, Mayzie. From the moment Mayzie arrived at the adoption event, she was full of excitement, curiosity, and love. Her tail never stopped wagging a million miles per second and she always had a slobbery smile on her face. Mayzie is a black Labrador Terrier who is looking for a furever home. She is about two years old, weighs 50 pounds, and loves to play outside. I never learned how Mayzie ended up in a scary animal shelter, but I cannot imagine anyone wanting to give her away. As a dog handler, my responsibility was to keep Mayzie calm and to answer any questions potential adopters may have about Mayzie.

The day was very challenging for me because Mayzie would not stop barking and charging other dogs for the first hour of the event. She was very hard to control and I had to keep her away from the other dogs. I was nervous that I would spend the entire event separated from everyone else. Although Mayzie’s intentions were good, the other dogs took her eagerness to make friends the wrong way. This usually resulted in both dogs loudly barking while growling and snarling through their teeth. I realized that not all dogs were going to be happy and full of life like Mayzie. Most of these dogs have deep-rooted emotional hardships due to their past experiences.

My favorite dog I met during the adoption event was named Dante. He is very special because he has an extraordinary story and an amazing spirit. Dante is a two-year-old Belgian Malinois Mix who weighs about 40 pounds. He was living on the streets in Puerto Rico when he was hit by a car. Luckily, the volunteers there found Dante and took him to a hospital where he was treated. Unfortunately, a bacterial infection grew in the bone and his leg had to get amputated. I was speaking to his foster mom at the adoption event, and she told me that Dante is the fastest dog she had ever met and he continues to play and live life like any other dog. Dante needs an active lifestyle and I hope that potential adopters do not overlook him due to his uniqueness.

My best friend, Miranda, volunteered with me and the dog she handled for the day was named Jack. Jack is a two year old Border Collie Labrador mix who weighs about 50 pounds. He is the complete opposite of Mayzie. Jack is mellow, cuddly, and was completely calm during the whole adoption event. Jack was a stray who was found on the side of the road. Whoever found Jack brought him to a kill shelter and he was eventually saved by being put in the foster system.

I am so excited to volunteer at future adoption events with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue during my summer here in Washington D.C. There is at least one adoption event every weekend and I hope all of you can volunteer and give these dogs the love and support they deserve!

About the Author: Julia Alspach is an intern with the Daily Do Good. 

Girls Who Do Good - The Winners

In March 2016, in celebration of Women's History Month, we put out a call for nominees to our #GirlsWhoDoGood award. A girl who does good is a woman who demonstrates dedication to serving others, whether in her professional work, as a volunteer for a charitable organization, or simply as someone who makes it her personal mission to be kind to others, and to never treat anyone as 'less than'. In essence, she is a lady who demonstrates the #dogoodfeelgood spirit. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted heartfelt and impassioned testimonials of the #GirlsWhoDoGood you know! Meet the ladies we've selected: 


    Melissa Sullivan

Nominated by both her mother and her husband, Melissa Sullivan has dedicated herself to helping underserved individuals in DC for nearly a decade. She has mentored first generation Latina-American college students, served homeless individuals at So Others Might Eat, and has passionately advocated for the spouses, caregivers and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces through her work as a volunteer and fundraiser for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the Honor Flight Network, and the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH). "Simply put," said her husband, "Melissa is selfless in her pursuit of service. Melissa is committed to going the extra mile, if it means she is able to assist someone in need."


Sharnikya Howard

Sharnikya Howard brings passion and drive to her work as a volunteer for Calvary Women's Services. "Many women at Calvary have lost their sense of confidence in the midst of the trauma of homelessness. When Sharnikya comes to Calvary, she greets women as equals, laughs with them, embraces them, and creates an environment where they can relax and feel more like themselves," wrote Amanda Griesser, communications associate at Calvary. By organizing activities such as a spa day and a Valentine's dinner hosted by some of DC's star chefs, Sharnikya shows the women at Calvary that they are worthy of feeling beautiful and special. 


Kate Glantz

Kate Glantz is the founder of Heartful.ly, an online gift registry for good. Instead of registering for candlesticks and gravy boats, couples raise awareness and money for a cause or development project that's important to them. Celebrants gift the cost of specific items, such as $60 for a semester of health care for a student in Tanzania, where Kate served as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was inspired by witnessing how members of a poor community celebrate life, welcoming even strangers to wedding celebrations, according to the Heartful.ly website.
"Kate’s unwavering drive and genuine desire to do good and dedication to the cause sets her apart," said Kyle Freudenberg. "Her do good spirit is engulfing."

Veronica Eyenga

In 2010, accountant and businesswoman Veronica Eyenga founded My Girlfriend's House, a mentoring program designed to serve and empower underserved young ladies in the DC area. "The mentoring program has grown and is doing amazing things in the community," said nominator Marcelle Green. "I think what Ms. Veronica has done is phenomenal. Some of us talk about doing good, but Ms. Veronica embodies this each day as she selflessly continues to give of herself and her money." Amazing things include organizing a spring break college tour, renovating communal spaces in shelters, and helping girls develop self-confidence and leadership skills. 


Israela Brill-Cass

Stephanie Bailey, program coordination intern at Access Youth, describes Israela Brill-Cass as a "living embodiment of the power of following your dreams and encouraging others to do the same." A professor of conflict resolution at Emerson College in Boston, Israela has dedicated herself to following her passions and teaching others to advocate for themselves. She is the founder of fixeerrr, a platform that teaches people to navigate difficult conversations from salary negotiation to resolving workplace conflict. "She is the first person I go to when I need advice, and also the first person I go to when I have good news," Stephanie, a recent Emerson graduate and former student of Brill-Cass, said. 

Girls Who Do Good

It's Women's History Month! Nominate a lady you know who embodies the #dogoodfeelgood spirit. Tell us how she's a girl who incorporates kindness, giving and good-doing into her daily life. We'll choose five women to feature. Share this post on social media and hashtag it #girlswhodogood.

Name of Nominee *
Name of Nominee

Gifts for the Gourmand

Delicious chocolate chip cookies and granola from Together We Bake support job training programs for women looking for a second chance. And if you want to support a cookie taste-off, Baking Memories for Kids helps send kids with terminal illnesses to Florida amusement parks. 

DC-based Bazaar Spices creates handcrafted spice blends. In addition to being a part of the local food scene and supporting the cultural culinary education, the company owners make regular contributions to local arts organizations.

Pennsylvania-based Riverside Design Groups created Plates With Purpose to support a variety of nonprofit organizations while bringing beauty to the table. 

Proceeds support  CASA , Court Appointed Special Advocates, to advocate for children in need

Proceeds support CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, to advocate for children in need

Theo Chocolate, the only fair trade chocolate producers in the U.S., partners with World Bicycle Relief and Eastern Congo Initiative to support economic and educational opportunities in Africa. The chocoholic in your life will love this Greetings Gift Collection, which includes bars, drinking chocolates and holiday flavored caramels.

Gifts for Animals and Animal Lovers

A gift from the National Wildlife Federation supports efforts to protect wildlife and their habitats. We quite like this fox nightlight to add a warm glow on dark winter nights.

Recommended by local animal lovers and advocates, Big Bad Woof partners with animal rescue organizations, and sponsors clinics to help pet guardians learn about best care practices. Style your pet for cold weather.

A bird feeder from Farm Sanctuary will provide hours of peaceful entertainment for your favorite budding orinthologist.

Looking for a gift for your fluffy friends? With this Turbo Track Cat Toy from the Animal Rescue Site, your kitty can get crazy. For every item you purchase, the site lets you know how many bowls of food are being funded for shelter animals.

Let’s adopt a polar bear. Oh, wait. No room. Are you just going to give up? Or will you adopt an endangered animal through World Wildlife Fund ? This fun and educational adoption kit includes a plush replica of the animal you’re helping to protect.