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      While traveling through Northern Thailand in 2002, two women, Jane McBride and Patricia Zinkowski, discovered fifteen girls living in an abandoned school in the village of Doi Luang. The girls had little adult supervision and were trying to survive as best they could in an area known for human trafficking agents. Pattie visited us at Mexicali Blues recently to share the whole story of how this chance meeting led to the creation of Friends of Thai Daughters: an awesome organization dedicated to protecting girls who were trafficked or who, due to poverty or social status, are most vulnerable to trafficking, by offering them a safe living environment and an education.

      These girls come from the hill tribes of Northern Thailand and are typically ages 8 to 23, without documentation or citizenship, orphaned, and/or victims of abuse. The shelter, support, and skills they receive from Friends of Thai Daughters can completely transform their lives.

      These girls and young women live happily and healthily in a bright, cheerful safe house called “The Sunflower House.” Visiting the Sunflower House and seeing these wonderful young ladies grow and flourish over the years is one of the things we most love to do when we visit Thailand! Not only are we grateful to know these incredibly vibrant young people, but we are honored to continue to support their well-being.

      In fact, if you have ever shopped at Mexicali Blues, YOU have contributed to creating a safe and healthy environment for these and other young girls in Thailand who would otherwise be at high risk for human trafficking. With 1% of all purchases going back to programs like Friends of Thai Daughters, your contribution is essential to our philanthropic endeavors. . . so, THANK YOU! (Learn about other organizations we support here)

      At Mexicali we strongly believe that we all need to be aware how our choices as consumers can contribute to a shameful world problem and use our purchasing power—and philanthropy—to prevent it!

      You can learn more about Friends of Thai Daughters and their fight against human trafficking in Thailand on their website  and on their Facebook page



      We send 100% of the proceeds from our Guatemalan beaded bracelets right back to the communities that created them.

      In the Guatemalan highlands, millions of families live through the driving rains of June through November in homes made from cornstalks, cane, and scavenged materials. After working hard in the fields to earn less than $3 per day, they return home to find dirt floors turned to mud, belongings vulnerable to theft, and children sick from exposure. In this beautiful but poverty-stricken region a safe, secure house doesn’t just change lives—it saves them.

      Nancy Wynne of Stonington, Maine and her family formed the Guatemala Housing Alliance (GHA) to help these families find shelter from the storms. Since 2011, this dedicated group of volunteers has built dozens of homes in villages on the shores of Lago de Atitlán. Carefully constructed from natural materials like adobe, bamboo, pumice, and pine, each house is sturdy, sustainable, and affordable. The family receiving a home agrees to pay for it by joining a labor cooperative building homes for others in their village.

      One of GHA’s most empowering programs teaches women in the villages how to bead beautiful bracelets. This allows the women to work from home while continuing to care for their families. Mexicali Blues has partnered with Nancy and the GHA to support the colorful crafting these indigenous Mayan women are doing. We asked these talented artisans to create a few of their many beautiful bracelet designs in specially chosen color combinations that we could sell through our World of Goods program to help GHA build more homes!




      Earth Day is Monday 4/22, and we want to give you a heads up that we'll be celebrating in two cool ways that day:

      • Spend $30 in any of our locations, or ANY amount at, and receive a free reusable market bag. These canvas bags feature a laminated interior for easy cleaning, and we just LOVE them!
      • 10% of ALL Earth Day sales will be donated to the awesome organization Bye Bye Plastic Bags, a beautiful environmental endeavor started by two sisters in Bali who recognize the single-use plastic pollution crisis and rightly believe that kids can change the world!

      Plastic bags are essentially indestructible, yet they're used and thrown away with reckless abandon. Most end up in the ocean, where they pollute the water and harm marine life; the rest are burned in garbage piles, where they release harmful dioxins into the atmosphere. Melati and Isabel Wijsen are on a mission to stop plastic bags from suffocating their beautiful island home of Bali. Their efforts — including petitions, beach cleanups, even a hunger strike — paid off when they convinced their governor to commit to a plastic bag-free Bali by 2018. "Don't ever let anyone tell you that you're too young or you won't understand," Isabel says to other aspiring activists. "We're not telling you it's going to be easy. We're telling you it's going to be worth it."

      Check out what Bye Bye Plastic Bags is all about in the videos below, including a TED talk by the AWESOME sisters who started it!

      4 WAYS TO BE GREEN IN 2019

      4 WAYS TO BE GREEN IN 2019

      Eat more plants and fewer animal products

      Recent studies have shown that avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way a person can reduce their negative impact on the planet. Meat and dairy uses 83% of all farmland and produces 60% of agriculture's greenhouse gasses, while providing just 18% of the calories we consume. Even if you don't go completely vegan, being mindful to moderate your meat consumption, starting today, can help!

      Aim for energy-efficiency

      From carpooling to turning off the lights when you leave a room, every action you take to decrease unnecessary energy consumption makes a difference. We've spent the past couple of years working to address this at Mexicali, and with 145 solar panels on top of our warehouse and 36 on our flagship store in Newcastle, we now generate enough solar energy to power both buildings and offset the equivalent of driving over 113,000 miles each year!

      Reduce dependence on single-use plastic

      Awareness grew in the past year about plastic pollution, with anti-straw initiatives and our sudden inability to throw all but #2 plastics into the recycling bin and call it good. So much of our modern society is built around packaging and products that are designed to be used briefly, but ultimately last forever as toxic plastic trash. We invite you to join us in working to be more aware, and saying no to unnecessary plastic: bringing our own containers to fill from the bulk bins at the co-op, making it a point to always bring our reusable shopping bags, and supporting organizations that work to stop plastic pollution at the source.

      Support businesses that give back

      We are proud to give 1% of every sale (not just profit) to organizations dedicated to making the world better. In the past couple of years, that 1% has allowed us to give $50,000 to build two earthquake-proof schools in Nepal and provide support to organizations that foster community health and development, education, equality, the arts, and the environment, locally here in Maine and across the globe. In turn, directing our attention in this way has made us more aware of the ways that the businesses we frequent and support make their mark on the world. The two questions we always ask: 1. Are their sourcing and business practices ethical? 2. Are they actively working to improve the world?

      Like everything, 100% aligning our actions with our values is a process, but we're working hard to be traveling down a positive path! We invite you to join us this year in checking and redirecting old habits, and mindfully choosing to take actions that will benefit our beautiful planet and the creatures on it. We'd love to know your ideas or intentions for being green in 2019; please tell us in the comments!



      The end of the year is when we take inventory—not just of the world goods in our stores and warehouse, but of our progress and our goals. In 2018 – our 30th year in business! – nothing gave us as much joy as giving back through our corporate philanthropy program. Mexicali Blues donates a minimum of 1% of sales every single year to support the countries we buy from, the communities we live in and the causes we believe in. So every time you shop the wonderful world goods in our stores, you help us do a world of good!

      In 2018, 1% of your purchases donated, sponsored or supported 40 organizations, including community arts organizations, environmental groups, advocacy groups, and local schools and kids clubs all over Maine, as well as international aid providers. A handful of names you might recognize (or want to check out!): Reverb, dZi Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, Seeds of Peace, Camp Sunshine, and Friends of Thai Daughters.

      Construction was completed this year on a new earthquake-proof school in Rok, Solukhumbu, Nepal! Partnered with dZi Foundation, through the Mexicali Match program we matched every dollar you donated until we together raised $50,000 in 2017. The school is now complete and the students absolutely love their new cozy and safe place to learn! This is the second Nepalese school we've helped to fund, thanks to you!

      We also held our first Cruise for a Cause: a Deadhead dance party on a boat traveling around beautiful Casco Bay, with all proceeds going to benefit Camp Sunshine, an awesome organization dedicated to providing retreats and support for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

      In addition, we spent 2018 working on stepping up our sustainability as a company.  With 145 solar panels on top of our warehouse and 36 on our flagship store in Newcastle, we now generate enough solar energy to power both buildings and offset the equivalent of driving over 113,000 miles each year! We spent the Christmas season sending buyers home from our stores with reusable recycled silk bags rather than paper, and we are continuing to work on making our packaging for online orders increasingly environmentally friendly. This is still a process, but it feels good to better align our energy consumption with our values, and this year we made some big steps in the right direction! Check out our real-time solar output here.



      It’s awesome and it’s amazing, and it’s the way we want to feel all year long. We’re renewing our focus on philanthropy in 2019 by supporting projects that power community development in Thailand, Guatemala and Nepal, by contributing to the fight against cancer, and by continuing to support schools, the arts, health initiatives and environmental action right here at home. Stay tuned for updates on how your shopping sends good vibes where they’re needed most all year long!



      We’re sending out sparkling vibes of major gratitude to everyone who helped make our first Cruise for a Cause an amazing and unforgettable event! Big thanks to The Maine Dead Project for rocking the boat and keeping us grooving with awesome Grateful Dead tunes, Flatbread Company Portland Maine for donating and serving pizza to hungry dancers, Casco Bay Lines for sending us out to sea in style, and all of YOU for your amazing energy, enthusiasm, and awesomeness! All the money raised from ticket and pizza sales is being donated to Camp Sunshine at Sebago Lake, an invaluable organization dedicated to providing a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 30th year than this fantastic party with a purpose! Thank you ALL!!

      See a video with Pete's terrific speech and awesome music clips here: