Local non-profit gift shops support community causes

Local non-profit gift shops support community causes

Tucson may be in the spirit of giving around the holiday season, but for these local stores, the gift of giving is year-round. These 10 gift shops are run by non-profit organizations that provide support to the community.

If you’re looking for thrift stores and other thrift stores, many of which also give back to our community, check out our list of 30+ places to thrift in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Whether you’re looking for a birthday gift, a holiday gift, or something small just because, here’s where you can purchase items that contribute to a good cause. (Listed in alphabetical order.)

The Coins of Kindness were completed at Ben’s Bells, 40 W. Broadway on November 13, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona.

Ron Medvecic/Arizona Daily Star

Ben bells

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Locals can purchase gifts at Ben’s Bells online or in person. They offer items like stickers, trinkets, cute coins, clothes, and more. Every purchase of a handcrafted item goes to the organization’s “Community Art Studios and Kindness Education program and furthers our mission of inspiring kindness,” according to their Instagram page.

Ben’s Bells was founded by Janet Marie in 2002 after the death of her son Ben as a way to honor his legacy and promote kindness in the community.

Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona

While the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona store carries many Girl Scout essentials like uniforms and program guides, they also carry gifts like earrings, bath bombs, tote bags, science kits and more. Items can be purchased online or in person!

The Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona Council serves nearly 5,000 Girl Scouts and more than 2,000 adult volunteers, according to their website.

Sardar Ahmed loads a box of fruit into the truck as members of the Escachita Refugee Network finish their task during one of their daily harvest trips in Tucson, Arizona on January 11, 2019.

Ron Medvecic/Arizona Daily Star

Refugee Network in Escachita

3736 AH, Second Street (pick-up only)

The Iskashitaa Refugees network’s online store IskaShop sells small-batch items such as lemon and habanero jam, prickly pear jam, tomato sauce and even hot honey. Items are not available for shipping and can only be picked up at the Iskashitaa office.

All items are hand-harvested locally and handcrafted by the organization’s refugees and volunteers.

Iskashitaa was founded in 2003 to create “opportunities to integrate UN refugees into the Southern Arizona community while educating the public, strengthening the local food system, reducing local food waste, and increasing food security,” according to their website.

Mission Park

The Mission Garden is managed by Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace, a non-profit organization that aims to “preserve, honor, protect, restore, and recreate the cultural heritage and historic landscape of Tucson’s birthplace at the foot of Sentinel Peak,” according to their website. .

The shop inside Mission Garden offers handcrafted goodies like jams, marmalades, and dried herbs. You can also find items like books, art, and plush. Looking for something a little larger? Trees and other plants are also available for purchase.

Fun fact: “The area around Sentinel Peak is one of the longest known areas of continuous agriculture in the United States,” according to the Mission Garden website.

Original seeds/research

3584 E. River Road (reception only)

Native Seeds/SEARCH has a large online gift shop specializing in Indigenous art including Diné weavings, Zuni carvings, and Tohono O’odham baskets. Of course, you can find a wide variety of seeds too. All purchases contribute to the organization’s mission.

Since closing their retail store in 2020, the Native Seeds/SEARCH Gift Shop is online only. Customers can choose local pickup from their headquarters or choose to have their orders shipped for an additional fee.

Founded in Tucson in 1983, Native Seeds/SEARCH strives to “maintain and enhance the diversity of arid-adapted crops in the Southwest to support sustainable agriculture and food security,” according to its website.

Animal Food Bank of Southern Arizona

Is that truly Being on the #ThisIsTucson list without having anything to do with our furry friends?

The Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank location in the Monterey Village Mall features an artisan gallery where local creatives display and sell their artwork. A portion of every purchase from the fair goes back to the Food Bank.

The Animal Food Bank of Southern Arizona has helped keep the bellies of local pets full since its founding in 2015.

The organization’s mission is to “make sure no one ever has to choose between feeding themselves or their animals,” according to its website. “As a local Arizona non-profit, we collect and distribute free pet food to low-income, unemployed, seniors and other underserved populations in Southern Arizona.”

Customers browse the abundance of handmade goods, gifts, crafts, embroidery and toys at The West on November 16.

Grace Trejo, Arizona Daily Star

the West

West is a non-profit retail store run by volunteers. The store carries home decor, artwork, books, stationery, children’s toys, various embroidery supplies and more.

West distributes grants to other local nonprofits that focus on women, children and adults with disabilities, according to their website. Grant recipients this year include the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southern Arizona, the Center for Emergence Against Domestic Violence, More Than a Bed, Sister Jose Women’s Center and Youth on Their Own.

The nonprofit has provided more than $2.6 million in grants to more than 73 organizations in Tucson since 1981.

West was initially set up to help fund The Brewster Home – a former home for unwed mothers. In 1968, Brewster Home Auxiliary opened a store selling handcrafted goods. Eventually, the auxiliary joined the Women’s Exchange Society and they changed the name of the store to Western – short for Women’s Exchange Specialties of Tucson.

In October 2020, when it was only safe to gather outdoors, these scenes were captured at Tohono Chol Park. The garden should be better today. Video by Joanna Eubank, Arizona Daily Star.

Joanna Eubank

Tohono Chol

Tohono Chul has three gift shops on its sprawling 49 acres. You’ll find items like artwork from local makers, desert foods, original handcrafted jewelry, and educational gifts for kids. A portion of the proceeds go back to Tohono Chul to help maintain the park.

Tohono Chul also has the option to shop online in case you can’t do it in person!

Tohono Chul’s mission is to “enrich people’s lives by connecting them to the natural wonders, art and culture of the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world,” according to their official guide.

Tucson Botanical Gardens Gift Shop, 2150 N. Alvernon Road, on Nov. 15.

Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star

Tucson Botanical Gardens

The Garden Gift Shop at Tucson Botanical Gardens offers a curated collection of items from local artists and businesses. You can find gardening supplies, clothing, accessories, educational toys, books, body care products, and more.

Purchases made through the gift shop help support the overall mission of the parks and their programs.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens were founded in 1964 and became a non-profit organization in 1969. Their mission is “to connect people to plants and nature through art, science, history and culture,” according to their website.

The United Nations Association of Southern Arizona Center and Gift Shop displays and sells folk arts and crafts including textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and clothing. Its purpose is to raise funds and educate the public about the mission of the United Nations.

Courtesy of the United Nations Association of Southern Arizona Center and Gift Shop

United Nations Association of Southern Arizona Center

The Southern Arizona United Nations Association Center carries a variety of gifts inspired by the desert and global items.

Purchasing items from the center supports UNICEF and its mission to “advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and expand opportunities for them to achieve their full potential,” according to their website. Some items are available for purchase online too!

(tags for translation) local

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