In the weeks since Sept. 11, Americans have donated nearly a billion dollars to relief efforts - a spirit of giving now further amplified by the arrival of the holiday season. Aware of the public's desire to lend a hand while hoping to draw customers, many stores and manufacturers have set up programs that give a portion of proceeds from certain sales to funds created for victims of the terrorist attacks and their families.
Here are some of the ideas for holiday gifts that give:
Old glory all over
Baltimore-based Gage Menswear offers five pieces of red, white and blue clothing with a portion of the sale prices going toward the American Red Cross' relief efforts:
Flag-printed suspenders ($24.75)
Flag-printed silk ties ($28.75; hurry, these are going fast)
Flag-embroidered polo shirts ($70)
Flag-stamped cufflinks ($12.50)
Flag-printed T-shirts ($10).
Two locations: 200 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, 410-727-0763, and 9616 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, 410-581-5351.
A bracelet, an embrace
Catalog and Internet retailer Eziba carries a selection of handmade goods this year that give to various charities, but 40 percent of proceeds from the Stars & Stripes Safety Pin Bracelet ($35) will go toward the Rudy Giuliani-established Twin Towers Fund. The money will benefit families of uniformed-services members killed or injured at the World Trade Center. Order online at www.eziba.com, or receive a catalog by calling 888-404-5108.
Keds Corporation, an 85-year-old American company, created AmeriKeds, a patriotic version of the ubiquitous white canvas sneaker. The slip-on shoe has a red, white and blue remembrance ribbon embroidered on its heel and sells for $17 to $25 on keds.com and in major department stores; a percentage of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. Infant, girls' and women's sizes are available.
Casual Corner clothiers feature a silk georgette American flag scarf ($10) with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the United Way's Sept. 11 Fund. Buy it online at www.casualcornergroup.com or at Casual Corner and Petite Sophisticate stores.
Stand for something
Kenneth Cole does everything his way, including giving to disaster relief. The designer has set up the KC Emergency Relief Fund, his own Sept. 11 charity, and printed an American flag T-shirt to earn money for it. Emblazoned with a quote from Cole ("What you stand for is more important than what you stand in") and an American flag, the white shirt sells for $25 at Kenneth Cole stores (there's one in Arundel Mills, 410-799-2027) and online at www.kennethcole.com.
The one common symbol of hope and unity since the terrorist attacks has been the country's increasingly visible flag. Executives at Workman Publishing saw the flags as emblems of the American spirit and created the "Glory" calendar ($11) to memorialize it. Photographic images of the moments that came after Sept. 11 - a flag in the arms of a fireman at ground zero, one flying over Brooklyn Bridge, another held by a small girl on her father's shoulders - fill the pages.
All profits go to The New York Times 9/11 Neediest Fund and the American Red Cross. Order from United We Stand kiosks set up in area malls (Harbor Place, Mondawmin, Owings Mills, White Marsh, Marley Station, Towson Town Center, Westfield Shoppingtown in Annapolis) or online at www.unitedwestand.com.
On board with patriotism
Toys R Us carries a fast-paced board game inspired by the renewed American patriotism. Called Spirit of America, the game ($25) takes players on a cross-country road trip to Washington. Correctly answering questions about the United States from four categories (national monuments and landmarks, heroic Americans, politics and law, and states) moves players along. A portion of the proceeds goes to the American Red Cross.
Another board game, Proverbial Wisdom, based on how much you know about sayings and proverbs, will donate $1 of its $30 price to the American Red Cross. It's available at Barnes & Noble and Ames and online at Amazon.com.
Sheets to sweaters to silver-plate skyline
Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com each set up a Spirit of America shop filled with Americana-inspired gifts that give to the American Red Cross and the United Way Sept. 11 Fund. Here's some of what's available:
Tommy Hilfiger Old Glory bedding collection ($80 to $250; macys.com) - flag-patterned pillows and sheets
Liberty 16-piece dinnerware set ($40; macys.com) - flag-trimmed table settings for four
America Flag turtleneck sweater ($98; macys.com) - distressed cotton sweater with a flag across the front
Swarovski Brave Heart crystal pin ($35; bloomingdale's.com) - red, white and blue crystal-studded heart pin
New York skyline ornament ($24; bloomingdales.com) - silver-plated version of New York's skyline before the attacks
Made by hand
Vaillancourt Folk Art offers three hand-crafted items that give 10 percent of their purchase price to the American Red Cross: a Stars and Stripes Santa figurine ($100), a liberty eagle figure ($110) and a snow angel ornament ($25). Order online at www.valfa.com or by calling 877-665-2244.
Auction for America
Online auctioneer eBay has a goal of raising $100 million by Christmas day. To do it, the company developed Auction for America, a section on its site for raising money through the sale of items donated by corporations and individuals. Proceeds go to the United Way Sept. 11 Fund, the American Red Cross, the Twin Towers Fund and the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund. Available goods run the gamut from pottery to trips, but here's a look at some of the bigger things:
VIP trip to the XXXVI Superbowl (donated by the NFL)
Walk-on role in a Taco Bell commercial
A brighter future
Nouveau Contemporary Goods furniture store (the Charles Street location only) offers a print created by artist Brian Andreas for $10; all of the proceeds will go to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, which was created to aid families who lost someone in the attacks. Called "Awakening," the poster - and the fund - look toward a brighter future. The address is 519 N. Charles St., or call 410-962-8248.
Where to donate
Some of you may prefer to skip the gift and go right for the give. Here's a list of charities accepting donations for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks:
American Red Cross (800-435-7669, www.redcross.org) - provides aid to families, victims and emergency workers
United Way Sept. 11 Fund (800-710-8002, www.uwnyc.org/sep11) - disaster relief
Twin Towers Fund (877-870-4278, www.nyc.gov) - assists families of New Jersey and New York emergency and government workers killed
Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund (800-335-1102; www.familiesoffreedom.org) - provides scholarship money to families of victims
Survivor's Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (202-955-5890, www.cfncr.org) - provides long-term aid to Washington-area victims and their families
For advice on how to investigate a charity before you give to it, check out www.give.org, the Web site for BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a year-old advisory service formed by the merger of the National Charities Information Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus Foundation. The site collects information from charitable organizations, handles complaints and offers tips on how to give and checklists to follow before you do.
- Tricia Bishop