Good gifts for good causes

Posted: Sunday, November 30, 2003

Surely you don't need to be reminded that the season of giving includes remembering your favorite causes or some you hadn't heard of until now:

''The Sweater Book'' (St. Martin's Press, $35 hardcover), by Stephen Mosher is not, as you might first think, a collection of knitting instructions. Instead, you find endearing and sometimes daffy photos of celebrities and friends of the author-photographer, all modeling the same patterned sweater.

The sweater, originally given as a gift to Mosher's friend, Pat Dwyer (to whom the book is dedicated), gets stretched to the limit. The cover photo is of Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, sharing the warmth of that single sweater; inside are hundreds of pictures of actors, writers, directors, dancers, musicians and friends, all wearing it for a picture. A big part of the book proceeds will go to AIDS organizatons.

The ''Pink Drink Book: A Cocktail Recipe for Women'' (Foley Publishing, $19.95 hardcover, $14.95 paperback), by Jaclyn Foley, benefits the ''A Time for Me'' support group for women with cancer. The author, editor of Bartender Magazine, offers drink recipes as well as some facts about liquors, garnishes, mixers, tools, techniques, etc. There's also a section on non-alcoholic cocktails.

''The Boat of Dreams'' (Touchstone-Simon & Schuster, $15 hardcover), by Richard Preston, was inspired by the loss of a friend to breast cancer, and part of its sales proceeds will go to Women's Cancer Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It's a Christmas story revolving around Santa and an old boat, and about loss and fulfillment.

It's a delicate tree-on-a-tree theme: this season's Lenox Holiday Spirit Ornament ($29.99) benefits the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The ornament is a florentine- and pearl-decorated Christmas tree in ivory china, handpainted with accents of 24K gold and platinum.

On the Web:

An olive branch has been a symbol of peace and goodwill since ancient times. This season a holiday wreath of olive leaves can be your own symbol of goodwill toward the hungry. Lindsay Olives presents its 20-inch Holiday Wreath ($50). All profits go to America's Second Harvest, the hunger relief organization.

On the Web:

The families of U.S. military and allied personnel lost in Iraq are not forgotten, at least by the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum. It offers an 3-inch glass ornament handpainted with an image of the Intrepid at sea ($25), with part of the proceeds going to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The fund provides financial assistance to spouses and children of military personnel lost in action.

On the Web:

An old favorite returns for supporters of the Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Ill. One of its first fund-raising holiday card designs an embossed wreath with a red ribbon on its cover and greetings in print and braille inside ($25 for a box of 25) is being reissued. Proceeds benefit Hadley's programs for the blind and visually impaired, including its worldwide distance education programs for 8,600 students.

On the Web:, or call (800) 323-4238.

If the person you're thinking of is intrigued by marine wildlife and is contemplating a trip to the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Conn., you can give an unusual experience: an up-front-and-personal encounter with a beluga whale or an African penguin.

For $110, your recipient (who must be at least 5 feet tall) can put on waders and venture into the museum's Alaskan Coast Exhibit, where he or she can touch one of the beluga whales which weigh in at anywhere from 1,300 to 2,000 pounds and listen to it breathe, spout and vocalize.

The person-to-penguin experience is $45 for a participant at least 6 years old, and it offers the chance to pet a penguin and learn about its habitat, history and conservation issues affecting its species.

Both programs benefit animal care at the aquarium. Reservations are recommended.

On the Web: www.mysticaquarium. org, or call (860) 572-5955.

Your wife, daughter, mother, sister or girlfriend may be dying for a smoke and that's just the problem. A sterling silver Sunburst pin ($16) or necklace ($18), designed by Angela Cummings, is part of The Circle of Friends campaign by the American Legacy Foundation to offer information and support to help women and their families live tobacco-free lives. A portion of each sale goes to the campaign. The pin is available on QVC, and the necklace at mark (Avon).

On the Web:

Circle of Friends -

Mark -, or call 1 (800) meetmark.

QVC -, or call 1 (800) 345-1515, item J99555.

- Things Remembered stores again offer several items to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which helps grant wishes for children with life-threatening diseases. There's a heart-shaped Holiday Ornament ($17.95) in pewter, studded with Swarovski crystals; the Musical Holiday Snow Globe ($24.95), which shows two snowmen and plays ''The Twelve Days of Christmas;'' and Star Keepsake Box ($34.95), a silver-plated star-shaped box with five small wishing stars inside. The foundation gets $2 from each sale of the first two items and $5 from the third.)

On the Web:

- Admittedly, the works in the CowParade art movement are an acquired taste. And perhaps an 8-foot-long specimen would be a bit crowded in your friend's living room or yard. But think creatively; one of them might make an excellent corporate or institutional gift. The CowParade Atlanta fiberglass animals, which had been on display for several months in the Georgia capital, are being auctioned off Nov. 13 for charity. Beneficiaries are the Southeast Division of the American Cancer Society and TechBridge, a non-profit organization providing technology and development assistance to Georgia charities.

On the Web:, or call (404) 527-HERD.

- For animals closer to your heart or hearth, consider a gift to benefit homeless cats and dogs. Gandalf the Wizard-Clown magically materializes each holiday season with fun goodies that benefit any animal shelter in the country you select. That means 10 percent of sales from items such as a squirt calculator or magic wand (each $4.95), or any of the gift sets you can see online, priced from $29.99 to $99.99.

On the Web:, or call 1 (800) 388-0708.

- Amia Studios offers a collection of handpainted glass crosses, called Near the Cross, with a portion of sales going to the American ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) Association.

Call 1 (800) 325-3943 for information.

- And the National Kidney Foundation offers a way to make the ultimate gift: an free organ donation card. The foundation points out that you can make a donation of a kidney, partial liver or lung while alive.

On the Web:, or 1 (800) 622-9010.

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