By Janice Curry
Do you wonder each Christmas what you can give to family and friends who seemingly need nothing? Or, are you ready to forego the Christmas gifts to be part of making a difference in someone’s life? Last Christmas, when my kids (in their 30s) asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told them that I wanted them to donate to some worthwhile effort to help others in my name. I “got” a rabbit for the Heifer Project, as well as gifts that helped feed the hungry and provide books to the illiterate (The Hunger Site).
Here are some suggestions for alternative giving to consider:
- Shop The Hunger Site where purchases help feed in need. http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1
- Heifer International is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help end world hunger and poverty through self-reliance & sustainability. http://www.heifer.org
- World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. http://www.wvi.org/wvi/wviweb.nsf
- Consider microfinance such as Grameen- http://www.grameen-info.org or http://www.grameenamerica.com – Grameen America is built upon the success of the Grameen Bank. Founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank is the most widely recognized microfinance company in the world. This success earned both Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
- Glimmer of Hope Austin – Recognizing that poverty comes in many forms, A Glimmer of Hope Austin was established in 2003 to fund programs designed to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth and seniors in the foundation’s hometown. A Glimmer of Hope is run like a business and it measures its success like a business. It is in operation to turn a profit – a Social Profit. http://www.aglimmerofhope.org
- Smile Train – Changing the world one smile at a time. http://www.smiletrain.org/site/PageServer
- Fair Trade products – Working to build sustainable communities.
- UMCOR – United Methodist Committee on Relief – http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/give/gift-catalog/
And there are so many other ways to make a difference! Give it a try!