5 Memphis Gifts That Give Back

Do a good turn this holiday by choosing gifts to help others right here in the Memphis area.

From toffee that fosters independent life skills for adults with Down syndrome to stuffed animals designed by St. Jude patients, spread the love and share the story when you give with a mission in mind.

Bluff City Toffee assorted box

1. Bluff City Toffee

Owned and operated by Madonna Learning Center, a school for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Bluff City Toffee empowers adults with special needs through real-life job experience. The dark chocolate pecan with sea salt looks great on a charcuterie board and pairs well with pinot noir. 4 oz. for $12.

My Cup of Tea- Memphis Edition

2. My Cup of Tea

The uplifting operation breaks boundaries for women in poverty through training and purposeful work. They import the highest quality leaves from tea gardens in the Far East to The House at Orange Mound, where it is weighed, re-formatted, and packaged for sale. Holiday cookie and tea gift sets $25.

Thistle & Bee Honey

3. Thistle and Bee

Hope thrives in all things honey: candles, candies, soaps and jars of that liquid gold. Empower female survivors of trafficking through a two-year residential program of beekeeping, therapy and holistic healing. Taste the local wildflower. Because hope thrives in all things, honey. $9-15.

City Tasting Box

4. City Tasting Box

Send out-of-towners a little Memphis love with the Mission Box. Ship a curated sampling from seven local nonprofit or minority-owned businesses, such as My Cup of Tea and Pop’s Kernel Gourmet Popcorn which employs special-needs adults. $75.

St. Jude Plush Toy
The St. Jude Gift Shop

5. St. Jude Gift Shop

In addition to the usual branded merch, find original patient-art inspired plush toys like the white French bulldog and the fuzzy, green brontosaurus. Or choose a donation gift like $25 for a No More Chemo Party, and get a card to pass along. $22.

We know there are more gifts that give back ideas out there! Please let us know in the comments below or email us at [email protected]. Happy shopping!

About the Author

Memphis for me is a dance floor. The progression swings from a childhood in the suburbs, to Midtown and Downtown through my college years, then back to the suburbs when hubs and kiddos blessed my days. I have swirled in the excitement of Tiger basketball, Beale Street bike nights, Coliseum shows, Zippin Pippin rides, Mud Island concerts, Rum Boogie side door slips and Alex’s Tavern shuffle board. I’ve cheered under high school Friday night lights, seen the Mississippi River reflect fireworks set to live symphony, and had my high-rise office computer blinded by the afternoon beam of the shiny pyramid. While I may dwell outside the city proper, one of the great things about living here is accessibility. Everything is about a half-hour away. My mission is to plant seeds, water roots and foster wings inside and out of the 240 loop. 

Say it. Memphis. There is a lip-parting breath in the beginning with grit and soul so strong it rises from within and reverberates outward. Memphis. A hard “F” in the middle. Memphis. Sharp finish with a trailing hiss. Memphis. Can you hear it? Memphis. Now move with me. Memphis. Let’s dance.

Build your perfect Memphis meal:

Start at the Peabody Lobby bar with a filthy martini in a crystal glass (ping!), half a dozen oysters Rockefeller from the Half Shell, a Greek salad from Cheffies all chopped to bite-sized bits with that Wolverine slicer they use, some BBQ shrimp from Second Line with extra soppin’ bread for all the sauce, duck fried rice from any SOB, and a box of Dinstuhl’s dark chocolate brandied cherries to pair with a middle-shelf Pinot Noir from Buster’s Liquor. I’m going home. Night, night.

What’s your favorite organization to support:

Literacy MidSouth makes such an impact in our city. From kindergarten to third grade, kids learn to read. From fourth grade on, they read to learn. If there’s a disconnect, statistics show the gap grows over time leading to behavior issues, increased drop out rates, teen pregnancy and incarceration. Last school year, I worked with nine third-graders in reading intervention to get them up to grade level. To see such smart children crack the code and feel empowered, thirsting for knowledge and devouring information they can finally understand and share, it’s nothing short of astounding. I’m proud to be part of the army of reading tutors serving our city. If you can read this, you can help too. Words have power!

Learn more about Candice Baxter here.

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