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Season of Giving (and Giving Back)

One holiday tradition for many people is giving back. Most of the charities and social enterprises below are open to volunteers, but they also have online and/or brick-and-mortar shops where at least part of the proceeds financially support their cause. Shopping on these sites means a win-win-win – the organization receives much-needed funding, you feel good about supporting them, and the recipient knows they’ve gotten more than just a tangible gift. We’ve chosen some lesser-known businesses to illustrate the depth and breadth of organizations doing good work in Singapore. Our resources don’t lend themselves to thoroughly vetting these organizations. While we are unaware of any issues or complaints, as always, please proceed with caution.

Before you head out to the usual stores for your holiday shopping, check out some of these shops for great gifts for friends and family.

If you’ve been keeping up with AAS activities, you know we regularly organize groups to volunteer at the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, better known as ACRES. But did you know they also have an online shop? You can purchase items like t-shirts and shawls or purchase a 1-year sponsorship that funds the care of a group of animals housed at ACRES.

Action for Singapore Dogs 2024 calendar is on sale for $10, and they also sell practical gifts like branded NETS Flashpay cards and trolley coin keychains.

Animal Lovers League doesn’t have a store, but partners with several organizations that help raise funds or support animal causes in Singapore by selling food and other pet-related items.

Books Beyond Borders has a shop on Erskine Road and is in the process of setting up online (at the time of this writing). Sales benefit education for girls in Nepal.

Caregiving Welfare Association sell quaint terrariums and other handicrafts to support quality-of-life initiatives for Singapore’s elderly.

Cloop reduces textile waste by reselling, donating, reusing, or recycling donated clothing.

Club Rainbow benefits children with chronic illnesses and their families. They have an annual sale that features items like a travel organizer set and gadgets like a personal selfie light. Check out Club Rainbow online for the 2023 sales items.

Movement for the Intellectually Disabled (MINDS) believes “that every individual with special needs has innate talents and strengths to be nurtured” and offers handmade crafts and packaged baked goods from MINDS Kitchen.

Project Dignity aims to provide the “disabled and disadvantaged” with dignity through vocational training and employment opportunities. In addition to hawker stalls called Dignity Kitchen, they also sell books under the name Dignity Mama.

Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD) offers primarily dog accessories, which fund their efforts on behalf of Singapore’s many strays.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) shop features items for pets, including grooming products and accessories, and for humans, such as handmade soaps and candles.

SPD Artisan Collab started as a bookbindery and is best known for hand-bound journals, which can also be personalized.

The Art Faculty features unique designs by differently-abled artists, allowing them to earn money for their work. There’s a wide variety of items, price points, and even the ability to create your own gift basket.

The Cat Welfare Society’s Cat Mama Shop offers a range of locally-themed toys for cats and humans.

The Breast Cancer Foundation offers a collection of pink and colorful items that support their work.

The Orangutan Foundation International isn’t local to Singapore, but it does benefit the beloved orangutans of Indonesia and fight for ecological causes like palm oil production.

The Seed Basket’s Riau Candle Co. is a “fair trade social enterprise that sees 100% of the profits from each candle purchased going to charity.”

TOUCH Community Services brand Journey markets the work of more than 70 artists with various disabilities, offering a large catalog of products from tableware to luggage tags


YWCA offers pieces by artist Pauline Lao are for sale and textile items like runners and bags.

Looking for other ways to support good causes?

Grab a bite at one of several locations of Professor Brawn Café, a unique social enterprise whose goal is to develop a scalable employment model for inclusive workplaces.

Give the gift of education to your helper with a gift card for financial management courses at AIDHA.

These organizations offer unique adoption and sponsorship opportunities:

Habitat for Humanity Singapore, Sew Much Love blanket project

Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS), sponsor-a-dog scheme

SDI Academy, Upskill courses for migrants and refugees

Seastainable, Carbon offset, or Bali reef restoration

The Barkery, For the Shelters project

World Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Protector sponsorship

While most organizations are unlikely to turn down volunteers during the holidays, they also need help throughout the year. Here are some other ways to get involved with meaningful causes:

This article is featured in the November-December issue of Living in Singapore magazine. Check it out!

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