Hopefully those of you who are giving gifts this holiday season have completed your shopping (or crafting), mailed your offerings off to distant friends and relatives or placed them in gift bags under the tree and are dusting your hands and declaring, “That’s a wrap!” However, if, like me, you are still scrambling to find a few stocking stuffers and holiday remembrances for friends, neighbors and co-workers, here’s a suggestion for one of the best stocking stuffers of the season.You’ll find Whole Planet Foundation® opens in a new tab 2012 calendars at any Whole Foods Market® store throughout the US and Canada. These colorful calendars feature gorgeous photography of 13 different microcredit clients from around the world and cost only $3. That’s right. Three bucks. Plus, it rolls up to just the right size for sticking in a stocking. Wrap a ribbon or bit of twine around the middle and it’s good to gift.
But it gets better — for everyone involved. Thanks to funding from Whole Planet Foundation’s supplier partners, 100% of the proceeds from calendar sales go directly toward providing microlending support in more than 50 global communities. This is a gift you will feel doubly good about giving, plus your recipient will also receive more than $20 (US) or more than $16 (Canada) in coupons from Whole Foods Market’s suppliers, including Nature’s Path, Earth’s Best, Amy’s Kitchen and Seventh Generation.Want a sneak peak at the deals? Check out the calendar page on Whole Planet Foundation’s website to see the list of coupons opens in a new tab.I’ve purchased a calendar in each of the five years it has been on offer and I’m convinced that the 2012 edition is the most gorgeous. This year’s featured microcredit clients hail from Paraguay, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Dominican Republic, Rwanda, India, Cambodia, Turkey, Indonesia, Ecuador and the United States. Each client has a story to inspire.
For example, Veronica, the featured client from Malawi, developed a fascinating and successful business renting out solar powered lanterns and offering solar cell phone charging services in her village with the help of her loan and training from Malawi’s MicroLoan. Less than 10% of the Malawi population is hooked into a traditional power grid and it will be years before most villages have reliable electricity. In many parts of Africa, small solar devices make sense. Veronica’s original business, a tea room, wasn’t bringing in sufficient income to support her family, so she chose to invest in a new venture. She’s currently challenged to keep up with the demand for her products and services, and is earning a lot more.Go to the Entrepreneurs page opens in a new tab on the Whole Planet Foundation website for more inspiring stories of the women (and one man) who are using microcredit loans to create a better life for themselves and their families. As one of thousands of Whole Foods Market Team Member contributors (through payroll deduction) I’m also thrilled that, as of December 2011, Whole Planet Foundation now funds microcredit in 49 countries where Whole Foods Market sources products.Pick up several Whole Planet Foundation 2012 calendars for the stockings you need to stuff. A word to the wise: while we plan to carry them in the our US and Canadian stores through January, a Whole Planet Foundation staff member told me that they’re disappearing fast. We’ve sold nearly 34,000 so far, enough to fund more than 450 microloans in the developing world.Are you giving any gifts that give back this year?