Gifts that give back: Holiday deals for a good cause - FOX 35 News Orlando

Gifts that give back: Holiday deals for a good cause

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

For a lot of people, Christmas shopping means big stress - not to mention big bucks. But there's another way to do it that you can feel good about.

At Open Books bookstore in River North, you can browse 50,000 books and they're all bargains.

"John Grisham's latest book would retail for $28.95, we're selling it in the store at the moment for $12," Assistant Manager Lizzy Boden said.

Best of all, those dollars go to a good cause: literacy programs for Chicago's young people. From book clubs to creative writing classes and mentoring, Open Books has reached nearly 5,000 students this year.

"The reason the store is here is to help fund those programs we run, so the books are donated and the profits go directly into these, these literacy programs," Boden explained.

The store boasts the biggest selection of used children's books in the city as well as best selling fiction and nonfiction. Prices for paperbacks range from $2 to $6 and most hardcover books go for $7 to $9. The regulars don't come just for the good deals.

"I love being able to use resources that have been used before," Open Books customer Ashley Smith said. "I also love being able to support open books and what they're about…and being able to help kids grow in their ability to read."

From books to bikes, you can also find a bargain on wheels. At Working Bikes co-op in Pilsen, old bikes find new life in Chicago and around the world. Broken bikes are donated, fixed, and then sold for as little as $5.

"Three of us are staff, but in any given week we probably have about 30-40 volunteers come by," manager Paul Fitzgerald said of Working Bikes co-op.

The co-op gives away more than 5,000 bikes a year, some in Chicago. Many are shipped to places like El Salvador, where a bicycle can mean the difference between poverty, and transportation to a job.

Providing jobs for people with disabilities is just one part of the mission for Aspire Coffeeworks, in partnership with Metropolis Coffee Company. They roast, pack and ship premium, organic, fair-trade coffee from Chicago's North Side.

"100% of the profits from Aspire Coffeeworks coffee sales goes back to aspire to fund programs," manager Michaela Casey said.

Those programs include services for more than 1,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities each year. Some of them work side by side with metropolis employees.

"They label bags, grind coffee, package orders," Casey said. "Bruce was putting together gift baskets for a large Christmas order. "

"I like working with the people," Aspire Coffeeworks employee Bruce Achilles said, "and the company does good and people like the coffee."

The coffee sells for $12 to $13 a pound, which is about average for so-called crafted coffees. You can buy it online, or at Whole Foods stores.

Company information:

Open Books Bookstore is located at 213 W. Institute Place, a block north of Chicago Avenue at Franklin.  www.open-books.org

Working Bikes Co-operative is located at 2434 S. Western Avenue. www.workingbikes.org

Aspire Coffeeworks sells their coffee online, and at many retail outlets around the city, including Whole Foods. For a full list of where to buy it, and more information, their website is: www.aspirecoffeeworks.com

 

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