High on the wish list of many people of good conscience is the desire to do something important, something that could save the world — or maybe at least the life of another. Well, here are some gifts that might do just that, and increase world-wide productivity as well.
Most people want to find a way to help others. So, many give to the Salvation Army Santa, or to the local homeless shelters, or something similar. I do too, because it helps some, for a while.
But there’s a great additional Christmas tradition you can start in your family. A tradition that gives life-changing gifts to people around the world. Gifts than even those with modest means can afford to give. Gifts that will greatly help because they are practical-use gifts designed to help people help themselves. There are a number of organizations that distribute such items.
One of the producers of such gifts is an organization called Heifer International, a well-established, well-regarded charity started in 1944. They provide gifts of plants, trees, livestock, feed for the livestock, cookstoves and other necessities that help transform people who have nothing — people who are starving — into productive members of their communities.
You could send a gift of honeybees for a mere $30. A flock of chicks, ducks or geese for $20. If you’re feeling more generous, you could get a water buffalo for $250. Or you could supply water to multiple families or even a small village starting at as little as $300 for a single pump well. If you want to participate in giving a gift that is beyond your means, you can buy a “share” of some of the more expensive items or projects for $20 or $30. You can make the gift in your own name or you can make it as a gift to honor a friend or family member. They’ll give you a gift card to send to the honoree.
Now, to be honest, what really happens is that your gift goes where the folks with feet on the ground know it is most needed. The gift you choose is symbolic. You are actually giving an amount that is equal to what it would cost to send the gift you choose. Oh, come on, don’t be surprised. What would happen if 1000 people wanted to send flocks of geese to an area that needed a herd of goats? Or herds of goats to people who needed clean water?
They have a physical catalog and a website.
You can find them here: http://www.heifer.org/.
Another organization, a bit older than Heifer International, is Oxfam, started in Oxford, U.K. in 1942. It offers similar gifts to Heifer, but the items it sends are a more expansive array. They include bicycles and building tools. Soaps and cleaning supplies. School supplies. Donkey carts. Emergency toilets. Medical kits. Blankets. Stock for “cereal banks.” All in addition to livestock, tree seedlings, seeds for gardens and farms, just like Heifer.
You can see their catalog at Oxfam America https://www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/.
Both organizations have an amazing diversity of “gift” options to inspire you. All of which can turn you into a life-changing benefactor. A purveyor of productivity of the highest order: the donor of a gift that helps a person, family or community lift itself out of poverty and into productivity and self-sufficiency.
Go become a hero.
And you don’t have to do it just for Christmas. People can be transformed year-round.
Just in case you wondered, I just sent a “flock of chicks” from Heifer. And I send other “items” at various times throughout the year. Maybe next time I’ll send a “school meal program” from Oxfam. If you send a little here and a little there, in time it can mount up.
Oh, yeah. One more thing. There’s another organization that you might want to give something to while you’re feeling generous. An organization that you probably use a lot. An organization that provides some pretty high benefits to many lives. It’s called Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. And they’re having a contributions drive now too. Can you spare $5?
P.S. If you want to get a starting point for learning more about the two relief organizations, Wikipedia has a page for each: