Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Profile: Fighting Hunger with Handbags - Auctiva Learning Center

There's a very nice write-up about us today at Auctiva EDU. Here it is!  :)
Designer-purse niche gives online merchant a way to give back.
by Auctiva.com staff writer 
- Aug 17, 2010
Lisa Stadtmueller, Handbags4Hunger
Lisa Stadtmueller gives fashionistas the chance to snatch up designer purses at low prices and help feed hungry children at the same time.
"Why not make a difference while you shop?" she asks visitors on the home page of her Auctiva Commerce Store,Handbags4Hunger.
Stadtmueller, who worked in the legal field for five years before moving into technology, began selling on eBay in 2001, offering items she found around the house. But her business model quickly changed after her mother-in-law asked her for help locating designer handbags on the marketplace.
"I was amazed at the demand that exists for good quality authentic designer handbags," Stadtmueller recalls. "I had been searching for my niche, and wanted to somehow tie that into charity."
It was around that time that eBay began working with MissionFish, allowing sellers to donate part, or all, of an item's sale price to charity. Soon, Stadtmueller began selling handbags, and donating 10 percent of her profits.
"Once I saw how successful my idea was—I never had an auction end without bids—I registered [my] domain name and set out on my own," Stadtmueller notes. "Seeing what people are willing to pay for these bags, I figured there was enough margin to pay some forward to a worthy cause."

A desire to help

Stadtmueller says her online business is "the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I have found a way to combine my passion for shopping with a love for kids," she says.
Once I became a mother, I realized how horrifying it would be to have my children go to bed hungry, let alone starve
The mother of two has had the desire to give back since she was a kid, she says. Growing up in Niagara Falls, NY, an area hard-hit by manufacturing losses, Stadtmueller saw people struggle to get by. She recalls visiting a friend, who lived in a small two- or three-room house above a business, while both of the girl's parents were at work and she tended to household chores.
"I came away from that experience with a new perspective on how fortunate I was, and remember seeing my parents really stand a little straighter as I told them how lucky we were when I came home that day," she recalls.

Feed people, shop happy

Stadtmueller gets her authentic Coach, Kate Spade, Katy Van Zeeland and other designer bags at discounted rates by shopping at local department stores when they have sales specifically for charities. Stadtmueller opts for classic styles that have "a timeless quality to them," she says. She then sells her purses for about 40 percent to 80 percent below their original price and donates 10 percent of her profits to Children's Hunger Fund, a nonprofit organization that has helped feed more than 10 million kids in 35 U.S. states and in 72 countries.
When deciding on a charity, Stadtmueller chose the best-rated organization because it uses 99 percent of the donations it receives to feed families in need.
"Once I became a mother, I realized how horrifying it would be to have my children go to bed hungry, let alone starve," she says. "I can't believe it still is happening in this world every day."
While the designer bags may be the initial reason why shoppers venture onto her site, Stadtmueller likes to think that one of the reasons they ultimately buy from her is their desire to help feed hungry children around the world.
The shop's motto is "feed people, shop happy." And it seems to be working. So far,Handbags4Hunger has donated enough money to buy 160 pounds of staple foods, or enough to feed a family of five for a year.
The handbags Stadtmueller offers are 100-percent authentic and backed by a money-back guarantee. The authenticity isn't only to keep shoppers happy; it's also to keep people from being exploited, she notes.
"Why do we stress the authenticity issue? Because it is well documented that replica/ counterfeit products do harm to our society in numerous ways, form the obvious deprivation of revenue to the true brand manufactures, but more importantly, the industry involved in the production of counterfeit products is known for severe human rights violations, including forced child labor," she explains on her storefront.
The set of features offered by Auctiva is the best I've found for the price

Tools help her help others

Stadtmueller chose to open Handbags4Hunger with Auctiva Commerce after doing a lot of research, and even trying out a few other services. However, she found that the features others offered did not stack up to Auctiva Commerce.
"Each time, I came back to Auctiva after numerous frustrations with other products," she admits. "The set of features offered by Auctiva is the best I've found for the price. The customer service response time, the constant interaction with us on the Auctiva forums is unparalleled."
Stadtmueller began using Auctiva's eBay listing tools when she sold on that site, taking advantage of the "gorgeous" listing templates and Supersized images to give her items a little flair.
"Other services out there just pale in comparison," she notes.

Rock star treatment

While Stadtmueller began her business to help the needy, she also wants her shoppers to be happy throughout their buying experiences.
"We treat each customer as if they are our only customer, with obsessive detail to meeting their every need," she notes.
Stadtmueller has noticed that more businesses are taking a philanthropic approach to business—something that makes her happy.
"I'm glad to see more companies and individuals donating proceeds to charity," she says. "With the advent of technology, it's brought us all together and made that commitment to combat world hunger that much easier to achieve."
Visit Handbags4Hunger on Auctiva Commerce.

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Grip Of Drought, Floods, Niger Faces Hunger Crisis

Nomadic tribal chief Ibrahim Mangari walks past the carcass of a cow that he says died of hunger.
Sunday Alamba/AP
Nomadic tribal chief Ibrahim Mangari walks past the carcass of a cow that he says died of hunger in Gadabeji, Niger, in May. International aid groups once again warn that this nation of 15 million on the verge of the Sahara faces a food crisis.
text size A A A
August 20, 2010
At the epicenter of a hunger crisis in West Africa's Sahara Desert region, Niger is in desperate need of food aid for nearly 8 million people — more than half the country's population. Yet a cash-strapped U.N. food aid agency has had to make a difficult choice: For now, only children younger than 2 and their families will be fed.
Read More

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What a Sweetheart Katharine McPhee Is!

Katharine McPhee finishes Hunger-Free Summer Tour in Houston
By Steve Campbell, AP
Katharine McPhee completed her Hunger-Free Summer Tour Tuesday with a visit to LINC Houston, a feeding site for low-income children. Katharine distributed food and performed for the children at LINC Houston, which is a feeding partner of the Houston Food Bank.
Katharine partnered with ConAgra Foods Foundation andvolunteered her time at food banks across the country this summer.
By Steve Campbell, AP
"I have had so much fun this summer visiting children from Orlando toLos Angeles, writing songs, singing with them and working to provide laughter and fun in their day," Katharine said in a press release issued Tuesday. "The Hunger-Free Summer initiative has been truly rewarding for me and I hope the awareness does not end when children go back to school, because unfortunately, hunger doesn't fully stop when school starts."
That press release also states that "19.5 million children receive free and reduced-price meals at school. But during the summer months, only 2.2 million children participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)." According to a recent report, Texas has the second highest rate of child hunger in the United States at a rate of 25 percent.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Bill Takes Away Food Benefits for the Poor to Pay for Health Costs for the Poor

(Credit: AP / CBS)
Handbags4Hunger is disappointed that the U.S. Congress did not find alternate funding to pay for the $26 billion state aid bill passed Tuesday. The funds will be used by states to pay for critical items such as Medicaid reimbursements and salaries for teachers, firefighters, and police officers. Unfortunately, the bill was paid for by reducing future funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP—formerly called food stamps).
"It is a good bill and the funds are critically needed by the states, but by using SNAP funds, Congress has taken away twice the amount of food that will be provided by all of the food charities in the upcoming year," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "Taking money from poor, hungry people to help poor, sick people is not the solution. Congress should have found the money elsewhere in the budget."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Britain's appetite for fast fashion is pushing workers into starvation conditions


Third world factories – and their employees – are being overwhelmed by the demands of western fast fashion
PINEDA
Workers at a fashion sweatshop in Choloma, Honduras. Photograph: Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press
Once again the closet opens and the skeletons tumble out. Here are three of the most outwardly respectable high-street stores – including one that often waves around its world-saving plan and another assumed to have got its supply chain in order following exposés of working conditions in the 1990s – connected to miserable Gurgaon garment factories.
None of the firms identified this time is a "value" retailer, but they too are in the grip of fast fashion – making on-trend designs mind-bogglingly cheaply and getting them into their stores in days, rather than months. And the real cost continues to be paid by garment workers thousands of miles away.
Soon London fashion week will signal to the fashion community that it's time to focus on the new season. This is a quaint throwback. The fashion industry's two seasons a year have been replaced in high-§street shops by 30 to 50 mini-seasons. A CMT (cut-make-trim) factory in India, Bangladesh or Cambodia must be hyper-responsive to cope with design changes from offices in Europe. A last-minute fax insisting that a button needs to be moved sends a poorly funded, badly managed factory into a panic. Third-world firms will never tell western retail superpowers that an order is too difficult, so workers simply must finish it.
Buyers for UK companies focus on keeping prices down and getting their Daisy Duke shorts into stores while the relevant celebrity is still wearing them. They also grapple with thousands of suppliers all over the world. A factory that might realistically be able to supply 20,000 pairs of jeans can suddenly be deluged by an order for 500,000. It will simply subcontract to factories of an ever-declining standard.
Attempting to uphold standards in this melée has traditionally meant a reliance on factory audits (where a representative visits and ticks safety and welfare boxes). This is as effective as the proverbial chocolate teapot.
The Ethical Trading Initiative, the voluntary industry body that all three companies involved here are members of, is also criticised by campaigners for being too placid. ETI spokeswoman Julia Hawkins said: "Ethical trade doesn't mean that there's a cast-iron guarantee that the person who made that T-shirt has been treated right. It's about company behaviour. It tells you they are working to improve."
Is this good enough? Not for poverty campaign group ActionAid, which thinks consumers should expect a little more. It said: "An essential part of any ethical trade has to be to ensure that workers are being paid a living wage. At a bare minimum this should be enough for a worker to pay for food for her family and cover housing, education and health needs – Asian garment workers are currently being paid about half of what they need to do this."
Claire Hamer, a former mainstream fashion buyer credited with introducing Fairtrade fashion to Topshop, sees change on the horizon. Through her consultancy, Ei8ht, she develops ethical supplies and has recently masterminded an Asos Africa line sold though online retailer Asos which is produced by a Kenyan co-operative. "The future is behind the label and the story behind it, not just the brands," she insists. "The smart fashion brands are beginning to design and buy out of these issues. I envisage a world where, when someone says 'I love your top,' you won't just say, 'Thanks, it's from Topshop', you'll take pride in knowing who made it. The value is not just in the brand, it's in the people who made it."
When the fashion press covers ethics it largely means whether catwalk models should eat more, rather than whether garment workers should eat.
It's tempting to cast retailers as Dickensian ogres but fast fashion is driven by consumer appetites. We love fashion but we also dump two million tonnes of textile waste (mostly clothing) in landfill each year, which suggests we don't value it. We get the type of fashion retail we deserve and ask for. We need a new plan.
Lucy Siegle's weekly ethical living column is in the magazine, page 29

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tell Your Representative --- Don't Cut SNAP Benefits!


Feeding America

HUNGER RELIEF ADVOCATE

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307). Unfortunately, the Senate made a last minute change to pay for the new investments in the bill by cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). There may be strong pressure for the House to pass the Senate child nutrition bill next Tuesday when the House returns to take a vote on a bill to provide emergency funding for Medicaid and teacher funding.

While we support completing Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year, the Senate-passed bill does not make as robust of an investment in program access that the House bill would make and it is paid for by cuts to SNAP benefits, nearly half of whom are children.  This is not an acceptable child nutrition bill for the House to approve, and so we are urging the House to move its version when Congress returns in September.

Feeding America supports the stronger House version because it includes additional investments that help Americans struggling with hunger.  We are now calling on all of our anti-hunger advocates to stand up and tell their Representative to pass the House version of Child Nutrition Reauthorization (H.R. 5504) when Congress returns in September.  We need to show our leaders in Washington that our nation's children need a strong Child Nutrition bill that puts us on the path toward ending hunger! Help us deliver that message by taking action today!

Calling your Representative is easy, and your voice will make a difference.  You can help us get a better Child Nutrition bill!
 

To make your call, just follow these simple steps: 
  • Dial the toll-free number---866-548-0332
  • Press 2 and enter your zip code, and you will be connected to your Members' offices.
  • Inform your Senator's office that you are a constituent and deliver this message:
"As my Representative I urge you to pass the House Child Nutrition bill (H.R. 5504) when Congress returns in September. It's critical that Congress enact a robust Child Nutrition bill that increases access to programs and improves nutrition without cutting SNAP/Food Stamps benefits."
Feeding America | One Constitution Ave, NE Suite 200 | Washington, DC 20002-5655
If you do not wish to receive future issues of Hunger Relief Advocate, please click here

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Favorite Charity is Now Also on Facebook!

Children's Hunger Fund

Feed children and their families in need
Children's Hunger Fund

About

“Generous donors write monthly checks, enabling our efforts to continue around the clock. Caring corporations give truckloads of quality products to those who could, otherwise, never afford them. In countries around the world, Children’s Hunger Fund builds relationships with indigenous leaders who have a passion for their own people, and provide food and other aid to support their ministries.”

Donations Go To…

Children's Hunger Fund
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit

Positions

  1. starvation isn't a disease!
  2. a little goes a long way!
  3. Hope in Jesus Christ

How large is the cause?

Peeps-09
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received one or more of the products or services mentioned in various blog posts for a discount or free in exchange for my unbiased review. I will always give my honest opinion regardless of any compensation received. Some posts may contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make your purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that. ;) So thank you!
MainStreetSHARES

Handbags4Hunger on Crunchbase