Saturday, December 6, 2008

'Tis the Season

Meet Ms. Jennifer, mom to Charlotte Moon, who is just a little younger than me and just adorable - I'd love to play with her! You can see more on her blog: Family Musings.

Anyway, she is guest posting today about some great gift opportunities, so if you're having a hard time coming up with just the right Christmas gifts, we've got the answers here!

And did we mention before that World Vision is the largest charitable organization still operating in Zimbabwe? Thanks, Ms. Jennifer, for highlighting these opportunities.

Each year, there seems to be an increasing awareness, at least among people I know, that we should do more for the less fortunate that surround us. But it can be hard to determine how to help people best. One way my family has decided to help for the past several years, is through gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog.

Following the style of major retailers, I present to you my World Vision picks for gifts by recipient category.

For Him -

  • Microfinance: World Bicycle Relief - Help fund a revolving loan which will allow 10 people to purchase a bicycle so they can transport their goods to various markets. ($200)
  • Train a Farmer - Is your man the 'salt of the earth' type? Then this might be the gift for him! Help a farmer father in a third world country learns the skills he needs to provide for his family long-term. ($35)

For Her -

  • Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls and Women - If a family sells their daughter into prostitution, it is often done out of desperation. That family needs food or medical care for another member. WV has shelters to take these girls in and rescue them from 12+ sexual encounters a day. Women who make it out of the sex trade often need medical treatment and education. Your gift will help provide these essentials so they can start a new life.(Starting at $25)
  • Feed a mother and her children - We count calories to lose weight... mothers in Angola count calories to make sure they gain enough weight. ($50)

For Teen Girls -

  • Girls and Women Education Fund - Many teenage girls have no idea that there are other girls their same age that don't have the basic skills of reading or writing. Open their eyes to the bigger picture with this gift. As a former educator, this one really hits home. Many times, girls in third world countries must stay home to care for their younger family members and miss out on the valuable skills and tools an education would provide (Starting at $25)

For Teen Guys -

  • Fishing Kit - For most US teens, if they fish, it is for fun or for sport. But that is not the case for guys in developing countries. Their family needs the fish they catch, to eat and to sell. ($40)
  • Computer and Technology Fund - Internet 2.0 hasn't reached everyone yet. But you can do your part to help students and workers have a brighter future with all of the right tools. ($100)
For Children -

  • One Chicken - Little ones always love cute, baby animals. Honor the children in your life by sharing a baby chicken with someone in another country. Chickens are a source of revenue when they lay eggs, which can help sustain a family in hard times. ($13)
  • Two Soccer Balls - Playtime is important for every child. In developing countries, children often make balls out of whatever they have on hand - twine, twigs, trash. Plus, this gift is matched so it is really like giving away four soccer balls. ($16)
For Teachers -

  • Art and Music Instruction - Creative outlets are important for everyone, maybe even more so for those stuck in poverty. Being able to express oneself is freeing, and may even lead to a home-based business. It can also foster emotional development. ($20)
  • Two Bibles - There are many ways to educate people, and World Vision also provides Bibles to those who want them for their religious education. The Word of the Lord never goes out in vain and these Bibles will be cherished by the individuals and families that receive them. (Starting at $36)
For Co-workers -

  • Ten Fruit Trees - Make one gift that covers your entire office. I am sure they will appreciate this more than that fruitcake or tin of popcorn you were thinking about. ($60)
  • $350 in Necessities - Many people also wonder if they can help out those below the poverty line here in the US. And the answer is yes. World Vision has programs here too. I particularly like this one because it takes a relatively small gift and, through matching grants and in-kind gifts, turns it into a much larger one. ($25)
I hope you have been inspired to do something a little different this year. Even if you just grab a stocking stuffer from World Vision, you will have made a difference.

I've listed the suggested donations for each of these items, but there is some flexibility. You can also search for gifts by price level if some of these are too steep for your situation. Click on the links to learn more about how the money you give will help those in need.

Also, once you've selected and paid for your gifts, World Vision also gives you the option to print out very nice cards that you can use to let the intended recipients know what has been done in their honor.


♥ Somebody Loved ♥ said...

We have made it a habit to give to someone at Christmas that needs it the most. So many ideas. Thanks.

Heather of the EO said...

This is such an excellent post. I love having this wealth of information all in one place. Thank you!

dani said...

we have always been supporters of heifer project international... it is so sweet of you to think of the less fortunate and help others who are willing to give ideas for the opportunity to do so:)
merry CHristmas season, jennifer!!!

Andrea said...

Those are some wonderful ideas!

Jennifer said...

Thanks! I am so glad you enjoyed these ideas. I hope they inspire you (or give you a fresh idea) of how you can make a difference.