Jay Baydala views the Christmas time tradition of giving gifts at as a beautiful thing.
The problem, he says, is that much of what is bought is excessive and leads to waste.
“It became a matter of how do we keep that tradition and put it towards something good,” Baydala explained.
This thought process eventually led to the creation of UEnd:Poverty, an online gift card donation charity that was officially incorporated in 2006.
Visitors to the site can purchase a gift card for their loved one and that individual then logs on and chooses which of the group’s nearly 200 accredited charities to put the money towards.
“Basically the gift is happiness,” Baydala said. “By far, the happiest you can be is by giving your money away.”
Calgary resident Chris Harper bought five gift cards through UEnd:Poverty last year and plans to use the service again.
“It costs you nothing to ship, it has a really positive social impact and it goes against consumerism,” Harper said. “I don’t have to go to a mall, pay for parking, and I don’t have to pay tax on it.”