Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gifts Worth Giving: Heifer International

Today we're going to visit my grandparents in Winchester, Va. (I'm probably there as you're reading this, actually). I love going to visit people around the holidays because not only do you get presents, but you get to watch people's faces as they open up the gifts that you've given them. And that's easily my favorite part of Christmas. 

It's so exciting when you know you've picked out the perfect present for someone. You just can't wait for them to open it! And that's exactly how I feel today, with Christmas only three short days away.

This year, as a family, we decided that we weren't going to give any of our family members (over the age of 21) anything that couldn't be eaten up or used up in one sitting... Think candy, fruit, theater tickets, etc. But then we went a step further and thought, "No one really needs any more food around the holidays... Why don't we give the money to someone who really needs it?" And that's just what we did.

Have you ever heard of an organization called Heifer International? Well, they're an international organization that provides nourishment to families all over the world through "Charity Gifts." Have you heard of the saying, "Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime"? That's essentially their mission. They "sell" farm animals that are donated to families in need around the world. 

Here's what they have to say about the gift of a Heifer:

"Heifers Equal Hope

When a family has a cow, every morning there's a glass of rich milk for the children to drink before heading off to school. Classes are paid with the income from the sale of milk, and there's even enough to share with the neighbors.
A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day - enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.
Better still, every gift multiplies, as the animal's first offspring is passed on to another family-then they also agree to pass on an animal, and so on.
And because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, every gift will be passed on and eventually help an entire community move from poverty to self reliance. Now that's a gift worth giving!"

We gave all of our aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends gifts from Heifer International this year, and it's going to be really neat to see their reactions.

I took the whole idea a step further and extended it to my gifts for my friends. AlPal and Na each had a flock of chicks donated in their honor; my friend Jewels, who's OBSESSED with manatees had a donation made to the Save the Manatee Foundation in her honor; and my friends August and Liz both received notification that donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation had been made in their honor.

I think it's such a neat way to help people in need, but still feel like you're giving your friends and family something memorable. Presents of material value are fun, but I think it's really important to remember the people that aren't as lucky as we are, especially this time of year.

Just a little something to think about...


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