Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Different Kind of Gift

Christmas, Christmas. Last minute shopping, baking cookies, board games, carols, decorating the tree, and presents, presents, presents. I just wanted to share a really great gift idea for anyone who may be hard to buy for on your list, or someone who lives far away, or a neat way to honor a loved one who has passed away. Actually this type of thing is great for any occasion, but I find it exceedingly perfect at Christmas. Whether you are religious or not, the holidays are always a good time to think about others, to take stock and to give to others.

Heifer International is my absolute favorite charitable organization. The basic premise of their work is simple: instead of giving a hungry person a single meal, give them the ability to provide many future meals for themselves. Not a cup of rice; a cow. They provide several types of animals depending on the climate, the community needs and the most appropriate animals for each culture and region. They provide these animals to a member of the community and that person agrees to pass on offspring to other members of the community. It is like a pebble in a pond--the ripples grow larger and larger over time. Heifer then provides relevant education for the recipient and the community. It is the classic "Teach a man to fish" premise and I think one of the most sustainable approaches to reaching out and helping others. The is nothing like enabling another person to provide for themselves to spark interest, pride and community involvement.

The holidays provide the perfect time to send some money to help someone you do not know, will never meet, but still care about through simple human compassion.  So tonight before you head to bed with visions of sugar plums in your head, take a few minutes and head over to the Heifer website.  Send them a few dollars so they can keep making the world a better place. 
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