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Shopping That Makes a Difference

You know how people always joke about being poor college students? Well, I’m sure many of us can relate a little too much to that. For me, there is a constant struggle between my “trying to save money” and “oh look, a sale!” states of mind. I’ll be the first to admit that I love to shop. I even look for excuses to shop, from a not-so-good day at work to an awesome grade on an assignment. Sometimes I will feel a little guilty while shopping, knowing I should be saving, but then there are some purchases that change my mind every now and then. There are numerous brands and organizations out in the world today who offer cute and unique items for sale that not only benefit the buyer, but also a charity or organization as well. I have personally bought a few items from some of the brands below and let me tell you, my wallet doesn’t seem to care as much when it knows the money is going towards a good cause or helping someone out there who may not have the same option to do so.

Below is a list of a few brands, stores, and organizations who promote items, from bracelets and shoes to bags and home goods, in which all or some of the proceeds are donated to a cause/charity.

Pura Vida

Pura Vida is Spanish for “pure life,” which emphasizes a Costa Rican belief to appreciate “life’s simple treasures.” This popular organization was founded in Costa Rica by two recent college graduates who crossed paths with two bracelet artisans. After reaching a deal with the artisans, the college graduates went back to their home town of San Diego, California in which the bracelets sold out after a few days at a local boutique. As time went by, it appears this collaboration exploded in popularity. I cannot go a single day without noticing at least one person who is wearing a bracelet by Pura Vida. Each of the bracelets sold by Pura Vida are hand crafted by different artisans that can be found all over the world now. Each bracelet is unique. Pura Vida has a Charity Collection that includes over 170 different charities that can be found worldwide. From animals to health-related causes, there is a bracelet for everyone on their site. (P.S. their charity bracelets definitely won’t hurt your wallet.)

Box Lunch

Have you walked around your local mall lately and noticed new stores popping up? Has one of these new stores been called “Box Lunch?” Well, if it has, then you should consider visiting it next time if you are into pop culture. Items from Disney, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Stranger Things and more can be found among the racks and shelves of this pop culture focused store. While shopping either in store or online, you can feel a sense of “guilt free shopping” because for every $10 that are spent, 1 meal will be provided by Box Lunch to the Feeding America organization. So, next time you finish an episode of Rick and Morty or Game of Thrones, consider visiting Box Lunch for the latest in apparel, accessories, and more all while helping out an amazing organization in the process!


Ever notice how over the years more and more people have been wearing slip on shoes, specifically by a brand named “TOMS?” Besides the unique and affordable styles of their shoes, TOMS provides resources to those in need through their slogan “One for One.” For every item that is purchased, TOMS donates either shoes, eye glasses, or fresh water to those less fortunate. Currently, TOMS works with over 100 different giving partners to help improve the lives of those all around the world. Over the years TOMS has expanded their inventory from just slip-on shoes to bags, sunglasses, sneakers and other types of apparel. Next time you are in the market for a new bag, or a new pair of slip-ons, consider looking at their site; you could help someone in the process with your purchase.  


If your style involves wearing clothing that makes loud statements about current/historical events, then this is the site for you. Sevenly has become known as the “leading provider of advocacy apparel and accessories.” This brand strives to change the world with one piece of clothing at a time. Sevenly works by creating “7 day campaigns” that focus on a certain cause in which a clothing collection is created to promote. “Sevenly makes a pledge of $7 per purchase in its 7-Day campaigns and 7% for its cause-themed collections to selected non-profits.” This brand wants to change the world and if you want to help contribute to their social ideals, then give their website a visit next time you feel the strong urge to go online shopping!


Burlap seems to be a material that many are choosing to buy more and more of. From weddings to home décor, people are popularizing this material as the days go on. FEED is an organization that is based on the phrase “we create good products that help feed the world.” FEED was founded in 2007 by Lauren Bush, an Honorary Spokesperson for the World Food Program (WFP). FEED offers a variety of bags that are made by artisans in countries like Colombia, Kenya, India, and Peru. Proceeds are used to help provide meals back in the same countries that these products are made in. FEED helps create an inspirational cycle that benefits everyone involved. So, if you are in need of a new tote to finish off the semester, or maybe to start off Summer break strong, consider visiting their site and helping out the cause (P.S. they have a new collection out for International Women’s Day 2018).

Of course, these are not nearly all the organizations out in the world today who donate profits to amazing causes, but just a few in the spotlight. More and more organizations are popping up every year with the same mind set, just with new and creative ways of making it happen. Next time you are out shopping, especially online, be on the lookout for one of these brands or others that peak your interest. You might just end up doing a little shopping for yourself while helping to make a big impact on others.  

Kayla Shaffstall is currently a Senior at the University Hawaii at Manoa majoring in Sociology, with a focus in Criminology and a minor in English. She plans on furthering her education by attending graduate school to obtain a Master's Degree in Sociology. When she is not writing you can find her soaking up some sun, hiking or drinking coffee at a local coffee shop. She is originally from Southern California.  
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