Give Gifts that Give Back

by Melissa Stewart

A few years ago I was lucky enough to work with a company that listened to me! What did I have to say? I suggested they buy their Christmas gifts from local companies and send Christmas cards that supported a local charity. Guess what? It was win-win-win! Win 1: The clients loved and appreciated the local goodies.Win 2: The local merchants and charities appreciated the business and support. Win 3: The gift giving company not only had the satisfaction of helping their local community, they also received lots of thank yous and kudos for their thoughtful holiday gifts.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to keep this tradition going and this year worked with 3 amazing local businesses/charities! I know that this year’s cards and gifts have already been sent, but I hope this post might plant a seed for next year. Next year, give gifts that give back!


Out of the Blue Granola

Out of the Blue Granola is made by and supports the women of  Blue monarch.

Blue Monarch is a non-profit organization designed to serve the oppressed and abused women of Tennessee. We accept women, with their children, who are currently recovering from physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse, alcohol or drug addictions, poverty, and/or severe family issues. Blue Monarch offers each woman a one-to-two-year residential program specifically designed to fit her individual needs and eliminate the abuse and oppression within her life. While we house and support each woman and her children for up to two years, the women strive to further their education, break their addictions, become better mothers, obtain jobs, and much more. Our mission is to give the women hope for themselves and their children, and equip them with the tools they need to become strong, confident, and self-sufficient through God’s love.

Pink Sugar Bowl

Pink Sugar Bowl is  a niche bakery that specializes in gourmet whoopie pies, the mini cakes with a cookie attitude! Their purpose is to provide you with a better tasting, high quality dessert using the finest local and natural ingredients.

In 2007 Deana Marcum joined forces with a group of ladies to host a fundraiser for a mutual friend who was battling cancer. Afterwards orders kept coming in for the unique mini cakes with a cookie attitude and Pink Sugar Bowl was born.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

This year’s Christmas cards were from Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. The 2011 card pictured above features an original print, “Red Trolley on Blue Broadway”, by local artist Sue Coomer.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is one of the largest and most comprehensive of over 200 food banks and food distribution centers nationwide. During the 2009/2010 fiscal year, Second Harvest distributed more than 53.3 million pounds of food to hungry men, women and children.

Second Harvest’s vision of ending hunger is more important than ever. Hunger is a big problem, and we need everyone’s help to solve this issue. According to the USDA, an estimated 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger, and almost 14 million U.S. children under 18 are food insecure. One in five children in the state of Tennessee are food insecure, and in Middle Tennessee alone, 31 percent of the people Second Harvest serves are children.


Melissa Stewart is a serial entrepreneur who has had a “home office” since age 5. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, addicted to coffee and eternally optimistic. Her latest project is a site committed to empowering women entrepreneurs by offering resources, support and inspiration. @melissaonline

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