5 last minute gifts and 5 charities to enhance their power

Your moment
Have you left your gift shopping to the very last minute? Are you blanking on gifts for your friends with a very peculiar taste? Here are five gift ideas for the five types of friends we all have.

1. The zero-waste newbie

That friend who got very upset about the components of the stomach of that whale that washed ashore. They didn't know the situation was this bad! They want to start living more consciously and lessen their impact on the environment but don't know where to start. Give them a hand by gifting them their first reusable bottle. We love our fellow Dutch company Dopper's bottles.

Me, and you, and your friend, we all have access to running, safe water. We don't think of this as a privilege, but it is. One in ten people around the world doesn't have access to clean drinking water. So as you're giving your friend the gift of a clean conscience make the gift even more meaningful by supporting it with the gift of clean water to people who don't have it.

Simavi is a non-profit organisation tackling water, sanitation and health challenges to stop preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates and boost social and economic development. Donate to them below and enhance the power of your gift.

2. The workaholic

The friend who has a nine to seven job and a million side hustles. You're not even sure if you'll see them in the next four years because they'll probably be busy giving a TED talk or being the first civilian in the Mars mission. Regardless, you still want to give them a gift in case they become the ruler of the universe.

To this friend, you need to give something they will never give to themselves: the gift of a break. Some time to take care of their mental health. Since you never know where they are in the world, gift them a portable self-spa set. Buy an already curated one or make one yourself.

While some things can be soothed with a bath, depression is a serious health problem that needs professional attention. Depression is often overlooked as a problem in the Global South but it affects people's lives gravely. Add a donation to a mental-health non-profit to your friend's self-care package and help people who don't have access to mental health services.

Strongminds is a non-profit that works with women with depression in Africa. They have a special community-based model that leads to women helping themselves and helping others. Donate below and give women the opportunity to take care of their minds.

3. The crafty one

The friend that will give you a homemade gift. They've probably invited you to a theme party that required a very specific costume at some point. They bring homemade kimchi and origami greeting cards to every dinner party. They make their own clothes and you can tell.

Any type of DIY set or 'how to' book would make this friend very happy. The more obscure the hobby the better. A personal favourite is this book on spoon carving.

Favela Painting is a non-profit, using art as a tool to unite and empower communities. Just like the crafty friend, Favela Painting wants to bring some whimsy and colour to people's lives and create lasting change. A donation to Favela Painting below would be a great complement to the gift.

4. The one who just had a baby

This friend welcomed a new member to the family just in time for the New Year. They're probably high on bliss but also on sleep deprivation. I've heard from reputable resources that the best gift for a friend with a newborn is food. Get on your most trusted food delivery app and order a meal or two to their house. This way, they won't have to worry about feeding the rest of the family on top of all the new baby hassle.

With food, you're relieving your friend from thinking about one aspect of life with a newborn but new parents have many other things they have to think about.

Stichting Steun Emma Kinderziekenhuis is a children's hospital in Amsterdam trying to provide parents and children with the best healthcare. Donate to them below and relieve more parents and their babies.

5. The Treehugger

The friend that loves the great outdoors. They're always on a hike, going on a hike or talking about a hike that they've just been to. They wear hiking boots on every occasion because "it's just really practical".

The best gift for this friend is a new hobby that they can do outdoors, so why not give them an introductory course for an adventure sport. My personal favourite is bouldering which can also be done indoors. Bonus points: the friend will shut up about not being able to go hiking in the winter months.

This friend loves trees as much as they love ugly footwear but if we keep going at this rate of deforestation there will be no trees left to love. Cool Earth is an organisation that works with local communities to protect rainforests in the Amazon. Donate to them below to make sure there are trees left to hug on your friend's many hikes.

More about: christmas / Gifts / donating

More Stories

  • Muslim doctors open free clinic for uninsured patients in a Ohio mosque

    Solutions

    In this time of religious tensions, a small piece of good news can go a long way in restoring your faith in humanity. This positive bit, for example, comes all the way from the United States. Northeast Ohio, to be precise.

    👉 In Parma, a small city close to Cleveland, a group of Muslim doctors decided to convert some of the local mosque's spare rooms into a free health clinic where everybody is welcomed, no matter if uninsured or not Muslim.

    As reported by local media outlet News5 Cleveland, The Cleveland Ibn Sina Clinic opened just a few weekends ago but more than 30 patients have already received treatment.

    "We have the ability, we have the potential, we have the resources,” said Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, who is one of the 20 doctors that committed to volunteering their expertise. "Giving a little bit of your time, I think, goes a long way in making a difference in people's lives," he added.

    “A lot of the doctors came here from foreign countries outside the United States looking for better opportunities. Now that they are established, some of them are practicing with hospitals, some of them have their own practice, now they want to come together and give back to the community,” commented Hala Sanyurah, who is the clinic's Communication Director.

    The clinic — that will not just focus on primary health issues but also on more specific diseases like asthma, diabetes, and mental illness  is the first free medical facility in the region.

    Credit header image: Stu Spivack 

    This story features:
    Read more
  • Winter was frigid because the polar vortex got ‘drunk'

    Obstacles

    The mere mention of the term “polar vortex” elicits thoughts of bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills. Most people are aware that the frigid air in the Northern Hemisphere is coming directly from the Arctic region, yet they don’t know why polar vortexes happen.

    Not surprisingly, this has led to some rather heated debate. One side of the argument claims that the polar vortex is a result of climate change and human activity. The other side suggests this is a natural phenomenon that proves global warming is false and that humans are not involved in altering our climate.

    The truth is the former is correct. But trying to convince someone to accept this reality might be a difficult challenge. Thankfully, when it comes to the cause of the polar vortex, there is a relatively easy — and for some, relatable — explanation. Quite simply, the polar vortex gets drunk.

    My research expertise is in microbiology, immunology and chemical mechanisms of molecular interaction (think antibiotics).

    As a science communicator, one of my greatest hurdles is defining the intricacies of research into language with which people can understand. This means going deep into the literature and finding the mechanism behind the result. It also means having a deep level of knowledge in a variety of different science branches.

    In some cases, the information can be difficult to convey to a wider audience. But when it comes to the polar vortex, it’s not difficult at all.

    A close examination of the chemistry associated with the onset of these cold snaps reveals a near-perfect resemblance to a chemical shift our bodies encounter during alcohol consumption. The results reveal that both humans and the planet are similarly susceptible to unexpected and unwanted movements.

    Unstable masses

    Most of us can recognize when someone has had too much to drink. Their speech is slurred and they have troubles with their balance. This latter symptom is why the walk-and-turn sobriety test is effective — an inebriated person has trouble moving in a straight line.

    Maintaining posture and balance is a complicated neurological process. Research has revealed that one molecule, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), is necessary for us to achieve this goal. Our brains use this neurotransmitter to help control the signals to our muscles, particularly when we feel the effects of gravity or being pushed by another person.

    When we drink alcohol, GABA helps us preserve our balance and posture. But once we end up losing the necessary levels of GABA needed to keep us upright, we sway, stagger and stumble. Only when we’ve sobered up and increased our GABA levels are we able to regain our balance.

    A similar process occurs in the Arctic.

    Cold sober

    The polar vortex, officially known as the stratospheric polar vortex (SPV), is a stable air mass that tends to stay put when it’s cold sober. In the same way we feel an internal heat during alcohol consumption, the region can warm up with an infiltration of air from the south, better known as a sudden stratospheric warming. When this happens, the steadiness of the vortex is challenged.

    Much like our brains have GABA to maintain stability, the SPV also has a chemical that helps to maintain stability. It’s ozone.

    When levels remain high, the vortex stays in place. But should the levels drop, then the vortex starts to sway, stagger and then stumble southward, a process known as outward eddy transport. Depending on how low the ozone levels drop, the vortex can stretch well into the southern United States and Europe. Eventually, the SPV sobers up, the ozone levels recover, and the air mass stays up north. But this recovery can be slow and leave those affected freezing for weeks instead of days.

    As to what causes the ozone loss, it’s a reaction with a variety of chemicals in the air. Researchers can observe the process in real time and have found that the offenders are not alcoholic in nature but happen to be compounds that contain nitrogen and chlorine. The Earth produces these chemicals in the form of volcanic output and forest fire emissions, and this can lead to a drunk polar region.

    But the frequency of these events has increased from one every few years to one very few months. There must be another perpetrator.

    Thanks to real-time examinations of polar vortex movements over the last 20 years, we can easily finger the culprit: industrial air pollution. These commercial activities produce more than enough of the nitrogen and chlorine chemicals to reduce ozone levels and cause those drunken staggers. The data clearly shows that the blame for the rise in those cold blasts falls squarely on us.

    As this winter’s supply of polar vortex events comes to an end, so should the debate over whether the polar vortex is real — it is — and whether these movements are due to human activity — they are. Until we find ways to reduce our dependence on ozone-removing chemicals, all we can do is hope for the best and brace for the worst.

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. It's written by Jason Tetro, Visiting Scientist at the University of Guelph You can read the original article here

    This story features:
    Read more
  • Inside the Hospital of St. Cross, UK's oldest charitable institution

    Solutions

    Here at Kinder, we're often busy thinking about the future of philanthropy and how charitable organizations will look like 100 years from now.

    However, every now and then, it's also helpful to look back at history and realize that there's a handful of charities that have been around for so long that there's certainly something we can learn from them.

    One of them is the Hospital of St. Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester England, that actually prides itself to be the UK's oldest charitable institution.

    Founded around the year 1132, the almshouse was initiated by Bishop Henry of Blois to support thirteen poor men who were unable to work and to feed some 100 people who showed up at the gates every day.

    The thirteen men became known as the "Brothers of St. Cross". Despite the religious connotations of the term "brother", the Brothers of St. Cross were not and are not monks, therefore St. Cross is not a monastery. 

    The Wayfarer's Dole

    The Hospital of St. Cross' most unique and famous charitable endeavor is surely the so-called "Wayfarer's dole".

    According to this delightful tradition, every visitor of the almshouse can ask for a free horn of beer and a morsel of bread. As recalled by the organization's website, the custom was started by a monk from Cluny, in France, whose holy order always gave bread and wine to travelers.

    After so many centuries, this tradition still continues nowadays as seen in the BBC's program Songs of Praise👇

    The Hospital of St. Cross, which is hosted in a beautiful medieval building immersed in the British countryside, is regularly open for visits. Head to the organization's website for additional information.

    Read more