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Have you Met Max?

A long time ago Max had a vision that one day he would be a leader in a village called Canaan in Haiti. His heart hurts for the people there, because of his role with HandUp Global Goods—he gets to do his part to bring relief to the fatherless children there.

He and two others (pictured below) from our program, are providing shelter, nannies and discipleship to 16 children. Max is in the center.

THIS is what happens when you think BIG about tackling problems like extreme poverty and orphan care.

Our formula, Job Creation + Spiritual Discipleship = Orphan Prevention comes ALIVE through the hands of young men like Max. He believes in the power of our formula and he invites you to become part of this story of redemption.

He wants you to know he believes in this revolutionary way of thinking—your investment in HandUp provides Max with essential training and tools to be able to guide his people in a more impactful way. 

He personally wants to make a piece of jewelry for every donor that donates to HandUp.

Donate today and let’s help them become the spiritual leaders God created them to be.

Learn more about Max here. 




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Revolutionize Your Giving

We’ve all heard the ancient proverb,

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” But what if I told you that together, we can revolutionize the fishing industry?

Have you ever wondered how much of a difference your donation makes in the lives of the people to whom you donate? Efficiently run organizations maximize your dollars to create deep impact for the people they serve. But often, good intentions fail to stimulate economic growth for the people in need of a handUp.

The irony is that most of the time it is the lack of economic stimulation in communities that keeps people relying on handouts. Although your donation helps for a day, months or even years—

Does it revolutionize entire communities & promote lasting change?

80% of orphans actually have living parents.

Up to 80% of children in Haiti are poverty orphans. Many of them have parents that love them but can’t scratch out enough of an existence to meet the basic needs of their sons and daughters. The lucky ones end up in institutions.

But many of these poverty orphans end up on the streets, sold as slaves, trafficked, exploited, the list goes on and on.

And who is doing most of the exploiting?

The broken men raised in these impoverished communities.

At HandUp, we believe we can equip former street boys to radically change their trajectories from broken men and future orphan makers to leaders and future hope makers. We do this through one powerful formula:

Job Creation + Spiritual Discipleship = Orphan Prevention

 When you say “yes” to investing in HandUp Global Goods—you forge new pathways for economic development in communities as we seek to:

  • Employ 100 Haitian young men by 2020
  • Diversify production in order to meet the demands of the global marketplace
  • Scale our current Spiritual Discipleship program to create a strong, replicable model
  • Expand both U.S and Haiti marketing efforts to create more streams for revenue
  • Seek to sustain Haiti operations through sales revenues

What does this all mean?

Each HandUp work day begins with a devotional.

It means less orphans, less extreme poverty and more strong men making a positive impact within their communities. Let’s stop settling for handouts and give them a HANDUP together.

Do you want your resources invested in this kind of revolution? Learn more here!

DONATE TODAY & we will send you a handmade gift from Haiti.

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Here’s a Coupon for your Support!

Because you said “yes” to giving a “handup”; he can say “yes” to lifting himself out of poverty with the work of his hands.

Here is how YOU changed the harsh reality for these teens through your purchase or donation:

  • 23 young men who were facing life on the streets are part of the HandUp program
  • 10 new teens in transition are under the loving guidance of our new TNT House Parent
  • A new Program Director oversees production and programming
  • 16 former street boys work at HandUp & earn a fair wage, health insurance & more
  • We achieved highest monthly sales to date this November
  • An artisan microloan system has been implemented into our savings program
  • All 3rd year artisans were able to pay their housing this year
  • HandUp artisans founded two ministries; Be the Change & Ti Moun Canaan

The good that you’ve poured into these young men is spilling out into their communities and fueling social change one bracelet at a time!

Thank you for supporting our work. We can’t wait to see what we can do together in 2018!!!

Donate today and help us create jobs for 7 more teens in 2018!

$5 off your purchase of $25 PLUS Free Shipping:  Use Code THANKYOU

There’s still time to do your holiday shopping HERE!

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I believe that good resides in all people because God made people.

AND there is a little bit of HIM in every person—even when we don’t recognize that it comes from Him. ALL GOOD COMES FROM HIM. I try to remind myself of this when I am disappointed in people. I think of Brene Browns comments in Rising Strong that she MUST choose to believe that everyone is trying her best. Seriously. It helps a great deal when I choose to believe in these two things:

That there is a little bit of good in everyone AND that everyone is doing the best they can.

But I have to confess, sometimes things happen that shake my heart a little bit and these two thoughts are tossed out the door.

Let me explain.

We recently had a fundraiser so that we could bring on TEN more teens in transition that have aged out of our partner orphanage. Instead of these boys ending up on the streets and perpetuating the problem of poverty—they get to be part of a story that is seeking long-term solutions to poverty. The lives of young men aging out of orphanages are changing and we believe that they will one day become the leaders in their communities.

THIS is why we give a handUP; to break them free from a life of handouts.

This is WORLD CHANGING stuff I’m talking about!

Yet at our fundraiser—we failed to raise the $60K that we so desperately needed to bring on these ten teens. Although the event itself was pretty amazing, we did not bring IT home. IT as in being able to offer our FOUR CORNERSTONES to all of these young men.

I was striving to find my peace with this lack of resources and was doing okay until I saw this:

As a country, we spent $3.4 billion on costumes that we will most likely use once. I know-I know—it’s fun and we’re making memories and visiting with neighbors and eating chocolate. But for me, it’s a REAL struggle. It’s like choosing to have a Pina Colada at a pool while knowing there’s a kid drowning in it!!!

Okay–so maybe it’s not a fair analogy but I’m confessing to you that this is how it made me feel. It’s times like this that make me wonder if I’m cut out for this kind of work. But then I get footage like this:

This is Richardson teaching English to impoverished children from a nearby village:

This is Patrick and he’s started a street ministry where he teaches young boys on the streets how to read.







This is Jean Ricard and he teaches the older boys at our partner orphanage how to make jewelry so that they can have the skills they need to get a job at HandUp.

THIS. This is the reason to keep moving forward and advocating for what we believe is right.

I believe that there has never been a better time to come together and put an end to extreme poverty.

I believe that HandUp is on to something revolutionary for Haiti’s aging out youth and that there is a BIG YES around the corner.

Will you believe alongside us?

The ripple effects of your donation to HandUp doesn’t stop at these young men. It spills out into their communities & THIS is what it takes to tackle poverty.

You can still TEXT to DONATE at 41444, TYPE in HUGG & follow the prompts.

At the end of the day, we want to know that we inspired you towards being part of this amazing story of redemption. We want YOU to know that you have the power to effect change on a global scale–so let’s tell this story TOGETHER!!!


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Shop & Save….A Family!

Women love to shop. Even those of us who rather get our leg hairs lasered than go shopping admit it feels good to wear something fresh off the rack. It makes us feel prettier, confident and more put together.

It’s even better if that said rack has some sort of discount sign affixed to it. That much sought after shopper’s high ignites when you see the “sale” sign on THAT dress. You peek inside the back of the neck scoop and see that magic little (of course its little) number that marks your size. You look over that sweet drape of cotton/rayon goodness in approval.

Who cares if it doesn’t fit JUST RIGHT, you pretty much stole it at that price and it feels SO GOOD that you go celebrate at the Cinnabon next door. (You buy the small ones of course)!

So that Cinnabon might make the dress fit a little less than “just right” but who cares?  It was only $17.99 marked down from $30, marked down from $58. Well done faithful shopper!

This shopper’s high is experienced by millions of frugal mom shoppers who LIVE for these kind of finds. It feels good to save money AND look awesome doing it. Aside from, you know, clothing our bodies and the bodies of the littles in our homes—finding great deals make us feel like good stewards of the resources we have.

It’s the “I got it at Ross” feeling when people compliment you on your outfit and you proudly declare that you got 116 pieces for only $29. Good job mama who is trying to stretch a dollar so she can save up for that summer vacay!

But I want to ask a question.

What if you learned that the person who made that “great find” dress doesn’t make enough money to feed her three children? She leaves her 9-year-old daughter to take care of the younger two all day in her tiny makeshift home.

What if the hang tag shared this young mom’s photo and explained how close she was to giving up all three to a local orphanage hoping that her children have a chance to thrive?

Would you refrain from buying the dress?
Would you call the brand and demand they pay her more for her 10-hour shifts?

What would you do?

I know. You hate me for bringing this up. I don’t want to step in the way of your savvy shopping. I really don’t. But every garment, accessory, pair of shoes we buy has a story and chances are, it’s not one you want to hear. Because it would break your heart.

I know your intentions are good. You search for that bottom line deal because you want to save and perhaps use those savings to do meaningful things.

But is there a better way to shop?

As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of our money and we often equate that with tithing and saving. But what if we looked at shopping as a way to bless others, too?

Yes! We get things for ourselves but what if we knew that this mother of three was able to send her littles to school and keep her family together because the company she works for believes in more than just the bottom line?

Would you buy that dress and pay the full $58. Sure—you wouldn’t be able to have 29 dresses hanging in your closet but you’d have a handful that you would be proud to wear because you KNEW your purchasing power was literally saving lives FAMILIES.

I don’t know about you, but I think this sort of ethical shopping is more in line with my Christian principles.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9

Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy….   Deuteronomy 24:14

I’m not asking you to go “radical” and blow the dust off your grandmother’s sewing machine. Homemade pillowcase dresses can only take you so far people!

I’m asking you to take a look at some alternatives. You’ll be surprised to learn how many companies are rethinking the bottom line and incorporating fair trade principles that are more socially and ecologically sustainable. I know these words don’t really mean a lot to most of us, but thinking about that single mom struggling to keep her kids should mean SOMETHING.

There is SOMETHING that all of us could do.

A million small pushes is better than ONE giant shove by one person. Let’s do this together!

Here’s a good place to start to learn about companies daring to go against fast fashion……

Want to start with the basics? Click here!

Leslie is rocking this cute shirt at a recent conference!
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How One Shirt can Make a Difference

Over the last year and half of blogging for HandUp Global Goods, I have come across so many amazing companies. The fashion industry, while it still has a long way to go, has made significant strides to protect their artisans. What I really love, however, is a company that not only focuses on fair and ethical sourcing but also gives back.

Girl Set Free focuses on fighting against human trafficking by working alongside many reputable human trafficking advocates. Human trafficking is just a new name for slavery, an issue that is still very much alive within all societies. With an estimated 27 million individuals in slavery today, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes. Each purchase you make with Girl Set Free goes to stop human trafficking.

I bought this cute shirt to add to my fair-trade capsule wardrobe (read more about that here) from Girl Set Free. This super cute and soft shirt has been perfect this summer. I love the wider cap on the shoulder and the simple but beautifully stated “By Grace” on the front. The Grace Tee is perfect for a capsule wardrobe because you can easily add layers as the seasons change. It will be summer here until November, but I am looking forward to pairing it with some cute fall outfits once the weather starts to change. It is also a perfect backdrop for all my HandUp Global Goods jewelry!

Summer casual
Dress it up with a skirt and cute shoes
My favorite way is to pair it with my go-to jeans

Girl Set Free just launched a new website where they are offering all kinds of super cute and ethically made products. They have beautifully hand-woven cross-body bags, hand turned pens, and t-shirts with a message I can stand behind. I have fallen in love with the heart of this company.

Simply stated, I trusted and obeyed and have the most amazing tribe that believed in me but believed in God more and they never let me lose sight of that. Girl Set Free started with my personal redemption story. Little did I know, saying yes to hard and holy things would lead to so much freedom and healing for others. Not only for our artisan partners but for me personally. God called me to rest this year after a long season of healing and years of striving. You see, I felt my worth came from my work because I held onto lies from the enemy. It was time for me to lay that all down. I’m humbled and have cried many tears since we started this journey but the growth has been beautifully hard and I’m counting the fruit now. Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to his power that is at work within us.”  -CEO Amy Kratzer

Check out their new website, purchase some amazing items and let me know what you think.

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Thank You for “Getting” What We Do!

Deflated. That’s how I felt when I walked into Market Hall in Dallas for one of the biggest shows of the year.   As I headed to our tiny booth, I took in the lavish displays of our competitors.  My thoughts went something like this—“Holy crapola!  There’s a lot of jewelry here!”

It quickly became apparent that our efforts to go “all out” for this show seemed to pale in comparison to the gloriously shiny booths that stuck their tongues out at me as I rolled my cart through.  It made me feel like yuck, much like the bottom of my muddy rain boots.

So I did what I always do when my optimism is viciously attacked by outside forces.  I pulled out my little cheerleader angel and she whispered what I wanted to hear:

“Our product is unique and crafted with love.  Surely shoppers will “get” our story.  It is unique and crafted in love….ra ra ra!”

Still feeling a little crappy.

Once the jewelry was laid out, I began placing photos on the white walls of our booth and slowly, ever slowly, the magic of our ministry began to unfurl before my eyes.  There were pictures of bright pink bougainvillea and beaches that boasted the beauty of Haiti. There were also pictures of trash and filth that revealed the brokenness from which our artisans come from.  There were dark, beautiful hands knotting bracelets—white faces, black faces, laughing, praying, working, playing.  This is us!

This is what sets HUGG jewelry apart!


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We didn’t have three glorious booths side by side or bounties of overflowing stock on our tables. We had us.

We had honest to goodness hand-made products that honestly empower young men in Haiti and that, honestly, is something that we are straight-up proud about.

We have Lindsay who designed and put together an amazing global chic display for us.  Robin, our in-house “jewelry lady” crimped and braided and beaded and hung chain on our demos down to the night before we left for market.  Kiley crunched numbers and cranked out pricing for our new pieces and Valerie photographed and curated a last-minute spring insert that we literally picked up from the printers on the way to Dallas.  This is the incredible story that I get to be a part of and I share it proudly.

I’d like to say that we had some killer sales and we had the ONE retailer who  thrust us into mainstream markets and now we can hire a hundred more teens aging out of orphanages.  But that is not how it works, does it?  I can say that we are now in several more stores than we were before we got here.  And for those people that did “get” us; please know that your joy over your purchase makes us feel successful because we know there are people out there that share our belief in our purchasing power.  It IS possible to positively impact the lives of people because of what we choose to buy for ourselves.  Now that is worth cheering about….ra ra ra!

Dallas Market….get ready for Round 2.

kiley-and-valerie-dallas-market         dallas-market-lindsay-and-natul

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Dressember Part 3: What Does the Money I Donate Do for Human Trafficking?

Imagine that you are the sole provider for your family. Times are hard and you have tiny mouths to feed and tiny people to clothe.

Then one day, you see a job offer. This one seems too good to be true, but you are so thankful for the opportunity. Things are looking up. How could this be bad?

But the job offer is merely a front. An opportunity to take advantage of a person in a place of vulnerability. Suddenly that ray of hope is extinguished. Now you are trapped. Owned by strangers. Strangers who are selling you to the highest bidder. An ache inside you grows as your world continues to grow darker.

Stories like this are real and there are a lot of them out there. All of these stories may have a different beginning, but the ending is the same. Trapped by strangers, forced to do things against their will. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry. It is an industry that focuses on the trading of human being, people like you and me. This is happening to men, women, and children and the statistics are mind blowing. Every 30 seconds, a person becomes a victim of human trafficking. Of the 27 million individuals believed to be bondage, only 1-2% of those are rescued.

But There is Hope

Those at A21 and IJM are working tirelessly to rescue those who are held against their will. A21 works on a 4P paradigm: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership. They want to educate everyone to help prevent people from falling victim to human trafficking. To protect those who have been a victim, they provide safe houses and restoration programs. These programs provide a safe and healthy way to transition back into society. A21 works to prosecute human traffickers and provides legal counsel for their victims. They also rely on partners like you and me to provide funds and education to the public. You can learn more about A21 here.

IJM, or the International Justice Mission, provides similar aid as A21. They are also a global organization that seek to end human trafficking. They work to restore those who were victims of trafficking by giving them the tools necessary to successfully move back into society. IJM works to strengthen the justice system so they can stop violence before it starts. They also focus on rescuing victims and bringing justice to human traffickers. You can learn more about IJM here.

How We Can Help

By donating to our HandUp Global Goods’ Dressember team, you are providing funds to aid in rescue operations. All the money donated goes directly to IJM and A21. By donating, you are partnering with us to make a stand. A stand against modern day slavery. You are saying that no one should be bought and sold. Join us and consider donating to our team today.

You can donate here:

A few pictures from Dressember

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It’s Bigger than a Dress

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Have you seen us post about Dressember on our facebook and Instagram page? Are you wondering what exactly we are talking about? Well, be in the dark no longer. This will be a full  month dedicated to the month of Dressember!

Dressember was started back in 2009 as a unique way to bring awareness to human trafficking. Human trafficking, or sex trafficking, is a large global issue that exploits people and robs them of their dignity. Today, there are an estimated 45.8 million people held in slavery. The purpose of Dressember is to raise money for human trafficking rescue operations by wearing a dress every day for the month of December.

So how can wearing a dress help?

It is all about bringing awareness. Creating a talking point with someone who may be unaware of human trafficking or unaware of how large this issue really is. All of the money that is raised through Dressember goes directly to A21 and IJM. These organizations create rescue missions to pull men, women, and children out of deplorable situations and help with rehabilitation. They provide safe houses, counseling and other tools needed to help these individuals thrive.

While we work with men at HandUp Global Goods, we believe in dignity for all people. Join us this month as we bring awareness to human trafficking. Join us as we raise money for these rescue operations and are able to restore safe and a healthy quality of life to men, women, and children around the world. Please consider donating to such an amazing cause. Help us take one more step closer to ending human trafficking.

What can you do to help?

You can find our Dressember page here. You can join our team. Wear a dress each day, post photos of yourself online and hashtag it #itsbiggerthanadress. If wearing a dress each day is not an option, donate and share about this cause. Our goal is to raise $1000 by the end of December. Come be a part.

To learn more about Dressember, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @dressember. And make sure you are following us @handupglobalgoods to continue to hear about our campaign.

Thank you for partnering with us!

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Lake Champlain Cocoa Powder



Whether you are a coffee lover or not (aka a crazy person), today’s post is for you. What better warm drink to enjoy with the whole family than hot chocolate on cool, holiday nights? It is a classic family-friendly beverage that consists of milk and sweetened or unsweetened (see recipe below) cocoa powder. Deliciously rich, hot chocolate. Yum!

I also think the way a person takes their hot chocolate says a lot about their personality.  For instance…

Are you a purist when it comes to your hot chocolate? Just milk and cocoa? Then maybe you are someone that enjoys the simpler things in life.

Do you prefer marshmallows, “the more marshmallows, the better”? Maybe you like to live on edge a little…you know, have an adventure.

Or do you prefer something totally crazy like spicy hot chocolate or lots of whip cream and sprinkles? Maybe you have a super refined palate and enjoy all the luxuries that life has to offer.

This is a super scientific personality test, of course.

But now that I have you craving this velvety mug of chocolaty goodness, I want to make sure that the cocoa you use in this hot beverage has a Fair Trade base.  So, today I bring you fair trade cocoa powder by Lake Champlain Chocolates. Now, cocoa powder can be used in so many awesome holiday recipes, but one of my favorites is hot chocolate.

Lake Champlain Chocolates, established in 1983, is based out of Vermont and is a family-run company that sources both locally and globally from a fair trade certified third party. They are also officially fair trade certified through Fair Trade USA. Lake Champlain is now in partnership with cacao farmers around the world to help fund the World Cocoa Foundation Scholarship to empower women and education youth in Africa. Check out their website as they have many, many other delicious-looking chocolate products that I guarantee will make your mouth water.  Products can be purchased directly from their website or at Amazon.



Tell me, how do you take your hot chocolate?

Made from scratch hot cocoa recipe:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

½ cup dry milk

1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Add any special topping you see fit and enjoy! Perfect for a cold night or given as a cute present.