Buying something for a good cause doesn't usually reap much. Girl Scout cookies seem stale after the eighth box, and seriously - how many magazine subscription drives does one school district need?
But if winter has you bluesy and you're desperate for a pick-me-up, cruise over to A Greater Gift for the perfect combination of retail therapy and global education. A staff member will politely offer you a piece of chocolate, and the experience only gets sweeter from there.
A product of SERRV International (a nonprofit trade organization), this Monroe Street storefront is one of two nationally. The mission of A Greater Gift is to fight poverty and empower low-income people worldwide. Sound lofty? It is. The handcrafts are bought directly from overseas artisans, and perusing them is an education in economic justice.
No one goes shopping to get a lecture, though. Fortunately, browsing at A Greater Gift is fun. Handmade ceramics from the central highlands of Vietnam are charming - be the first to snap up an elephant-shaped mini-teapot ($12.50) with matching little cups (set of 4 for $20). A silver medallion from Mali ($32) is an exotic addition to the jewelry chest, as are the carnelian and silver earrings from Indonesia ($30).
The most heavenly product in A Greater Gift, however, is most certainly the sweets from Divine Chocolate. "It's the only chocolate in the world where the farmers who grow the cacao own the company," says store manager Susan Sheldon. Buy a giant bar for your valentine for only $2.50, and remind him that doing good can taste good, too.
A Greater Gift
2701 Monroe St., 233-4438
10 am-6 pm Mon.-Sat., 10 am-3 pm Sun.