- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ever the charity troubadour, U2 frontman Bono has come up with another mission to fight poverty around the world. Anyone buying limited-edition Asian- and African-made products online at www.ONE.org contributes to the cause. A sale either generates a percentage of the total amount to go directly to the product’s creator or helps in raising the campaign’s profile. The products include ONE-marked shirts made from African cotton in Lesotho and Uganda, pashminas from Nepal and a white wristband made in the United States.

Another online Web site hoping to stir up shoppers’ altruism is We-Care.com, made up of more than 650 retailers that offer discounts and coupons for a variety of items on gift lists, thereby saving the shopper money. At the same time, each retailer specifies what percentage of the purchases made can go to a nonprofit, school or association of the shopper’s choice. “Shopping responsibly means giving back to the community” while engaged in some pleasant activity, the site notes.

Care for the troops

• More than 100 troops in the U.S. Army’s 15th Transportation Company are recipients of special gift packages shipped to them by N.E.W. Customer Service Companies (NEW) in Sterling, Va., setting a good example for the coming holiday season.

• Teaming up, or partnering, is the way to go when trying to please and make a philanthropic statement at the same time. The national bakery chain Panera Bread has announced a link with Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children and local Northern Virginia elementary schools through a new program called “Change for Children.”

The idea is to encourage the act of giving among young people by urging them to support the hospital’s Child Life Program. Students who initiate activities on their own for the benefit of the hospital will be entered into a drawing for prizes provided by Panera Bread. In addition, they will be asked to record their experiences in a journal, including descriptions of their fundraising efforts. The child collecting the most money will be given a special prize at the end of the Change for Children program in May.

• On a less ambitious note, Bobby’s Crabcakes in Rockville has pledged to give a percentage of sales from its jumbo crabcake platter on the restaurant’s one-year anniversary the evening of Dec. 12 - plus free hot chocolate and dessert for all takers - for the Save the Bay Foundation. Diners, in addition, will be eligible for a free dinner for two. The combination makes sense since the retail enterprise depends on a supply of crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. The donation program will continue in other ways throughout the year, according to owner Bobby Bloch.

• Retail clothing stores make a more upscale setting for charitable works. Through its foundation arm, the Children’s National Medical Center was the beneficiary of a shopping party last week at the Ralph Lauren store in Chevy Chase - just one of 400 times the foundation each year is aided by outsiders wanting to host events on its behalf, according to spokesman Mark Miller.

The two couples in charge of Thursday’s party were Amy and Bret Baier and Cindy and Evan Jones. Mr. Jones is the former board chairman of the Children’s Research Institute, the center’s internal research division; the Baiers - he is best-known as Fox News’ White House correspondent - are on the foundation’s board. Mrs. Baier’s parents, Paul and Barbara Hills, this summer pledged $1 million for the hospital’s Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, where their grandson, Paul, had been treated for a congenital heart defect. “It was 500 days and five hours ago,” a grateful Mr. Baier told assembled guests, saying how their infant son has had two open-heart surgeries, one stent procedure, and two angioplasties “on a walnut-sized heart.” Before then, he said, “we didn’t even know this hospital was in our backyard.”

That helps explain why 15 percent of the evening’s sales were to be directed specifically to that department of the pediatric health care institution - and why shoppers who couldn’t make the cocktail hour session were invited to do their purchasing, with the same benefit, ahead of time.

For doggie

Bloomingdale’s in Friendship Heights teams up Sunday with the Washington Humane Society for the benefit of homeless dogs at an afternoon pampering and grooming event for customers’ dogs. The idea is to give private pooches a day out with their owners and donate money made from any photographs taken at the occasion, with Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus being provided by the store.

Tasty treats are being supplied by Barkley Square Gourmet Bakery & Boutique of Alexandria and the District’s Hello Cupcake. Last year’s event raised $1,500. Adoption of homeless dogs also is possible on site that day.

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