Your Guide to Holiday Shopping With a Social Mission

Each year after Thanksgiving, the shopping season kicks into high gear with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In response to this time of heavy consumerism, nonprofits proposed Giving Tuesday, which asks people to consider giving to organizations that are addressing critical social issues.

We have a way that allows you to do both -- find the perfect items for everyone on your shopping list while directly supporting a social mission. This year REDF has created our first Social Enterprise Gift Guide, which offers a simple and meaningful way to change lives through your holiday shopping this season and all year round. Social enterprises are mission-driven businesses focused on hiring and assisting people who are willing and able to work, but have the hardest time getting a job.

People employed by social enterprises throughout the country produce beautiful and high quality items. In the spirit of giving, this guide highlights a number of these American made products, spreading awareness and supporting these social purpose businesses and people in need in an impactful way. When these men and women go to work, their lives improve alongside the lives of their families and communities.

Create opportunity by buying gifts from enterprises that gives a second chance to people who have been homeless or in prison, or have disabilities. Here are just a few examples:

• Homeboy Industries offers great baked goods, stylish bags, and home goods. By purchasing these products, you can help people who have been in gangs or incarcerated redirect their lives and become contributors to their community.

• Boston Handyworks makes beautiful handmade and durable cutting boards. While the artisans transform pieces of raw wood into beautiful and unique cutting boards, they acquire the skills and confidence to go from homelessness to employed graduates.

• Women's Bean Project offers handmade jewelry and gourmet food items. By purchasing from this social enterprise, you can help a woman end their cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty by discovering their talents and developing the skills they need to be ready for a job.

• Casey's Cookies bakes delicious gourmet cookies that are shipped the same day they are made and by ordering from them you can help improve the quality of life for developmentally and physically disabled adults through training and employment.

'Tis the season to give. Make your shopping count and buy from social enterprises that are impacting the lives of people across the United States - this holiday season and throughout the year.