22 November, 2008 - Give the Gift of Giving

It happens every year at this time; as a matter of fact, it has become an annual tradition for me now for the past three decades. As we come into the Thanksgiving/ Christmas season, a time of giving; I know there is someone on your list who has everything and what do you do in the way of a Christmas gift? Well, I have two suggestions for you again this year to give a gift in the name of a friend, that will help people feed themselves.

First of all, Heifer International. This is a program that started in 1944, at the end of World War II; it was then called Heifer Project International. It has been growing ever since, and I have in my hand the current issue of “The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World”. It is an opportunity for you to buy an animal or some other agricultural commodity that will go to a person in a developing country or even a poverty-stricken rural area in this country to produce food and income for a family. For example, for $500 you can give the gift of a heifer; or for $120 you can give the gift of a goat or sheep; or for $20 a flock of chicks that will eventually produce eggs & meat.

It is a gift that is shared because, for example, the first calf born to the heifer is given to a neighbor who then does the same with his first calf. I have supported Heifer International for nearly 30 years because of this concept; letting people keep their dignity, feed their family and share with neighbors. Their information website is www.heifer.org.

The other organization in which I am involved is the Foods Resource Bank. It too helps people in developing countries feed themselves, but in a different way. In this country, rural churches and city churches become partners, joining together in the Spring to fund the planting of 30, 40 or 50 acres of grain. Rural church farmers donate the acres and do the work; city church members provide money for the inputs. At harvest time all the church members come together at the farm, have a church service and lunch, then harvest the crop which is then sold.

The proceeds are used in different ways; in the case of my church, to dig wells to provide clean water for drinking and irrigation in a rural village in India, again helping people feed themselves. There is another benefit to this program; it brings city people to a farm at harvest time so they can see first-hand what farmers do to put food on their table and get to know them personally. And kids and adults love riding in the combine cab! The website: www.foodsresourcebank.org.

Two great organizations to help you with your gift giving. They deserve our support.

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