Houston teen hopes 'Giving Tuesday' will help her deliver lip balm to kids battling cancer

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This "Giving Tuesday" a Houston teen hopes to get a bump in sales to help kids battling cancer.

GIVING TUESDAY HELPS ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY


For nearly a decade, Americans have been giving back in a big way after buying gifts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This movement is called Giving Tuesday.

In 2020, about 35 million people donated, raising about $2.5 billion. This helped a variety of organizations.

It can also help small businesses that make a difference, including Zeal Cares - for each product sold, one is given to a kid battling cancer. The idea was started by Houston high school student Julia Sora.

"I'm hoping that I can spread the word about what I do and the importance of childhood cancer awareness, and research and the struggles that they go through daily," Sora explained.

ZEAL CARES HAS HELPED THOUSANDS OF KIDS BATTLING CANCER

Sora started the business six years ago. So far, she's sold 10,000 lip balms on Instagram alone.

Sora now has a website, and shoppers can buy the product at Magpie's Gifts, and soon at Kuhl Linscomb. The increase in sales has allowed Sora to expand her reach to help kids.

Sora donates products to 18 states and works with 30 hospitals, including MD Anderson in Houston. She even delivers lip balm to patients.

"I met (a patient) and his mom," Sora recalled. "She told me that raspberries were his favorite fruit, but since starting cancer therapy he couldn't eat them anymore because of the mold that's commonly hidden inside of them. So, he chose my raspberry pomegranate lip balm, and he was super excited and seeing the look on his face was just great."

The lip balms are sold in four-packs, and single units. The four-packs are $14.75, and a single stick is $4.

BEFORE YOU HIT DONATE, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

With millions of Americans donating a lot of money on Giving Tuesday, and during the holidays, experts caution cyber thieves are lurking. Leah Napoliello, vice president of operations of the Houston and South Texas Better Business Bureau said make sure you do research.

"Take some time to investigate the charity," Napoliello explained. "Learn more about where the money is going. What percentage is going to the programs?"

Donate with a credit card, avoid pressure to give on the spot, ask for details on how the charity uses the money, and watch for fake social media ads.

"Sometimes you'll see the ads pop up on social media for certain groups," Napoliello said. "They could piggyback off the names of well-known groups, or charities and change the wording just slightly so you think you're going to a legitimate well-known charity, but instead it's a scam."

If you donate with cash, it might be hard to get it back. If you're a victim and donate with a credit card, you may be able to contest the charge. If you fall victim, Napoliello said call the police, and alert the IRS and BBB.

If you're unsure if it's a legitimate charity, you can call the IRS, or use its website to verify if they're a 501(c)(3) organization.

For more on this story and how you can donate on Giving Tuesday, follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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