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Christina Shanahan
May 09, 2015 @ 11:45 am

Sure getting gifts are fun. But when actress Alyssa Milano became a UNICEF ambassador back in 2003, where she experienced firsthand the work that the organization does to improve the lives of children around the world, she learned that giving back can be just as rewarding. "Now, being a mother myself, the thought of not being able to provide basic things like protection, nutrition, and vaccinations for my children is very scary," Milano told InStyle. "We take these things for granted." 

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So this Mother's Day, Milano teamed up with UNICEF on the organization's Mother's Day Moment's campaign. She curated a collection of "Inspired Gifts" that provide essentials like blankets, tents, and clean water kits to mothers and children in developing countries (talk about a win-win). To participate, choose your gift here, then select a card to let your mother know that a donation has been made in her honor. UNICEF will deliver your "Inspired Gift" to a mother and child in need. Also ready your smartphone: when your mom gets her gift, you can share a pic of the surprise on Twitter or Instagram using #GiveMOMents.

We recently caught up with Milano to learn more about the program.

Is there a mother you met during your work with UNICEF that left a big an impression on you?

When I traveled to Angola, I met a group of mothers who all lived in a very small village. They would walk five miles everyday with their children strapped onto their bodies, carrying a big jug to fill up with clean water, and then walk back.  When you witness the strength of these mothers walking ten miles round-trip to just get clean water for their families, it’s really astounding.

How did you choose which Inspired Gifts to include in the collection?

I wanted to include the most basic things that mothers strive to provide for thier children because, as a mom, these are the things I can't imagine being able to give to my kids. Some of the Inspired Gifts include shelter, tents, clean water, therapeutic food, and blankets for warmth. 

What are some other ways people can support the cause?

There is no real excuse not to educate and empower yourself on the issues of the world, because all the information is so handy right now. I believe that human beings innately want to help other human beings. Even if that part means helping a woman up the stairs with her groceries and into her apartment, you’re making a difference in the world and being a more productive part of society. 

What will you be doing to celebrate Mother's Day this year?

My happiest moments as a mother are seeing my kids spend time with my mother, so I’m looking forward to just hanging out with everyone on Sunday. 

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