5 breast cancer organizations to check out before you buy anything with a pink ribbon on it.

Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.

It is the second-most common-cancer worldwide, and there are over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone.


Photo by Rana Sajid Hussain/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

With numbers like that, it makes sense that when we are shopping for groceries, we would buy the box of cereal with a pink ribbon on it rather than the one without. Part of our purchase goes to finding a cure for breast cancer, right? Or to supporting survivors and their families? Or to educating about breast cancer prevention and recovery?

Not always. For many companies, stamping a package with a pink ribbon just means that they're “raising awareness" — and that pink ribbon is rarely accompanied by any facts or figures to actually educate the public.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

While organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Avon Foundation are painting the country pink this Halloween season, some people are pushing them to do better and are raising public awareness of a different problem. On Oct. 7, the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas issued a notice to consumers to “be on alert for 'pinkwashing' and breast cancer charity scams."

Pinkwashing is what happens when your grocery store aisles and football jerseys suddenly turn pink for a month in the name of “supporting breast cancer awareness."

Technically speaking, yes, people are more “aware" of breast cancer as a result.

Those pink ribbons are pretty conspicuous. They also aren't trademarked (although the Komen Foundation has trademarked their own version of the pink ribbon), so pretty much any company can put a ribbon on a package and call it a day without actually having to give any money or do anything about breast cancer.

It sometimes feels like awareness organizations care more about the body parts and less about the actual people living with cancer.

Those awareness campaigns rarely include any information other than the obvious: Breast cancer exists, and it's scary. And while some campaigns are just empty promises of awareness, others are also fairly short-sighted.

With campaigns like “Save the Tatas" and “I Love Boobies" implying that the breasts are more important than the people attached to them, it sometimes feels like awareness organizations care more about the body parts and less about the actual people living with cancer.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

Finding a cure, building survivor support networks, and raising awareness about early detection are all admirable goals.

Donating directly to an organization helps ensure that more of your donation goes toward breast-cancer-related research and support programs. But not all organizations use their funds the same way. A portion of donations always go toward company overhead — and that's OK. Nonprofits need to pay their staff members and pay the rent on their buildings.

But figuring out where to direct your donations dollars and support to make sure they're actually being used wisely is sometimes a lot harder than it should be.

Here's a list of five organizations other than Komen or Avon that you might want to support this Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

1. Breast Cancer Research Foundation

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation believes that to achieve a world without breast cancer, we need to fund research to understand how cancer works, how to prevent it, and how to cure it. Of all money donated, 88% goes directly toward research, and only 3% goes toward awareness programming. They're still pinking out this October, but you can rest easier knowing that your dollars are funding scientists across the globe. And this month, a donor is matching all gifts to the BCRF — up to $50,000 total.

2. Sisters Network Inc.

Sisters Network Inc. is dedicated to educating about the impact that breast cancer has on black communities. Black women experience the highest breast cancer mortality rates, and breast cancer is the second-highest cause of death among black women — behind only lung cancer. Sisters Network Inc. provides financial assistance for medical-related lodging, prosthesis, copays, and office visits. They also lead educational initiatives targeted toward young women.

3. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute provides medical services for breast cancer patients, including treatment therapies, reconstructive surgeries, diagnostics, and customized treatment plans. Although their breast-cancer-related services are housed in their Center for Women's Cancers, they have a program dedicated to supporting and treating men with breast cancer.

4. Breast Cancer Fund

The Breast Cancer Fund is working to connect the dots between breast cancer and environmental factors that cause breast cancer. They educate about chemicals in food, packaging, and cosmetics that may be linked to breast cancer. You won't find a splash of pink on their website because BCF believes that we are all plenty aware of breast cancer and it's time to work on taking action.

5. Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Living Beyond Breast Cancer builds connections between people who have been affected by breast cancer. It's based in Pennsylvania, but they work nationwide. And Healthline listed their blog as one of the best breast cancer blogs of 2014. Their online resources include webinars, help chat lines, writing workshops, and live-stream panels, so anyone can access support services — regardless of where they live.

Breast cancer survivors deserve more than pretty pink ribbons — they deserve real hope, strong support systems, and accessible medical care.

So while we're painting our towns pink this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let's make sure that we're also supporting organizations that are spreading real knowledge and working directly with those affected.

If none of these organizations struck your fancy, visit Charity Navigator to find your own.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Katie Schieffer is a mom of a 9-year-old who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after spending some time in the ICU. Diabetes is a nuisance of a disease on its own, requiring blood sugar checks and injections of insulin several times a day. It can also be expensive to maintain—especially as the cost of insulin (which is actually quite inexpensive to make) has risen exponentially.

Schieffer shared an emotional video on TikTok after she'd gone to the pharmacy to pick up her son's insulin and was smacked with a bill for $1000. "I couldn't pay for it," she says through tears in the video. "I now have to go in and tell my 9-year-old son I couldn't pay for it."

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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ZACHOR Foundation

"What's 'the Holocaust'?" my 11-year-old son asks me. I take a deep breath as I gauge how much to tell him. He's old enough to understand that prejudice can lead to hatred, but I can't help but feel he's too young to hear about the full spectrum of human horror that hatred can lead to.

I wrestle with that thought, considering the conversation I recently had with Ben Lesser, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who was just a little younger than my son when he witnessed his first Nazi atrocity.

It was September of 1939 and the Blitzkrieg occupation of Poland had just begun. Ben, his parents, and his siblings were awakened in their Krakow apartment by Nazi soldiers who pistol-whipped them out of bed and ransacked their home. As the men with the shiny black boots filled burlap sacks with the Jewish family's valuables, a scream came from the apartment across the hall. Ben and his sister ran toward the cry.

They found a Nazi swinging their neighbors' baby upside down by its legs, demanding that the baby's mother make it stop crying. As the parents screamed, "My baby! My baby!" the Nazi smirked—then swung the baby's head full force into the door frame, killing it instantly.

This story and others like it feel too terrible to tell my young son, too out of context from his life of relative safety and security. And yet Ben Lesser lived it at my son's age. And it was too terrible—for anyone, much less a 10-year-old. And it was also completely out of context from the life of relative safety and security Ben and his family had known before the Nazi tanks rolled in.

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Nearly a year into the deadliest pandemic in a century, the U.S. is still battling not only the virus, but Americans living in denial of reality as well.

Take this video of a group of anti-maskers who stood in front of a Trader Joe's entrance and tried to argue that they had every right to shop there without masks. The woman narrating the video states that they have "a right to commerce" (they don't—there's literally no such right), that Trader Joe's doesn't have the right to require masks (they do—it's their store), that the mandate to wear masks in public places can't be enforced because it's not a real law (it can—), and that they were not there to demonstrate, but just to buy groceries (umm, right).

The manager, to his credit, did what he could to calmly talk with these people while also making it clear that they were not going to enter the store without a mask.

"The point you're trying to make isn't going to be made with us," he said. "It can be made with your government...I am not here to debate policy. I totally respect for you to think anything you want to think...my job, as manager of the store is to enforce the mandate, whether you believe in it or not."


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