Monday, December 16, 2013

Gift Ideas For the Kind-Hearted

I am caught smack-dab in this whole commercial holiday rat-race this holiday season. I am someone who loves to give, and loves to make people feel loved and appreciated. So looking for the most perfect gift or way of sending my love weighs heavily on my mind.

I do like having some presents to open, who doesn't. But, by golly the amount of money that the Western world alone is spending for this holiday season on presents to open has got to be approximately a ga-zillion, or something sickening like that.

And I have a WHOLE LOT of people in my life I need to thank and appreciate. (And that is a good thing). Not to mention, special people in my kid's life that appreciate them and, like my son's bus driver, keep him safe and happy. So, I have a lot of spending to do.

Which got me thinking. What if I spend a fraction of our holiday card/gift money on something that is truly helpful and meaningful to those that are not as fortunate.

I've traveled to poor countries and seen desperation in the eyes of mothers. Heck, I drive to our local co-op and see the desperation in the eyes of men and women holding a sign up on the street corner. I've seen desperate times of my own.

So this year, as part of my gift-giving, I will be donating to Heifer International and YoKid  in honor of a few of my special kind-hearted people in my life. The Heifer donation will help bring a gift of rabbits and a starter flock of chickens to a family in need to help them provide more of sustainable food source and income.

The YoKid donation will help fund a program that helps give children, particularly those living in poverty, with regular access to yoga that can equip them with techniques that can help them better cope with stress, decrease their likelihood of obesity, and improve their general understanding of how to care for themselves both mentally and physically throughout childhood and into adulthood.

For an Animal Lover:
I love Heifer International because you get to give a sheep, a goat, or a flock of chickens, a camel (!) or a bio-fuel stove to a family or various other practical options that will provide a more sustainable way for a family them to feed, earn money, or cook. Plus, you get a nice little donation card to give to your gift recipient. 

For a Yoga-Lover:
Check out this website Off The Mat and Into the World for a whole host of amazing yoga-related charities/ NGOs. I choose to give to YoKid because it seems like all the big youth-based yoga NGO's are all out on the west coast, and I wanted to give our east coast some lovin'. YoKid provides instruction in yoga for kids and teens mostly in the D.C area. They provide affordable on-site instruction for kids, as well, they have a big network of teachers who provide outreach for any school or organization who need it. They also launching a Kids Yoga Conference in 2014! Donate here

For a Teacher or Coach: 
You could make a donation to a great international NGO called Right To Play, who provides regular access to sport and play activities that help them to develop self-esteem, a sense of belonging and become role models for other children. (I am a bit biased because I used to work here! But I have visited their programs in Africa and the kids are super happy and thankful.)

For a Food or Cheese Lover:
Give the gift of four cheese producing animals. The C
heeses of the World Gift Basket is made up of four milk-producing animals: a goat, a sheep, a water buffalo and a heifer. Families will also receive training on the animals' care. This gift provides an abundance of milk to make cheese, butter and yogurt. It increases wealth by providing dairy products that can be sold.

For the Feminist or Scholar:
Send a girl to school for a year, for $56.  In places like Afghanistan, Congo or Ethiopia, girls’ schooling is critical: educated girls become smart, strong women committed to leading their communities toward stability. In Ethiopia alone, The International Resue Committee helped educate nearly 4,500 girls in 2012. Your donation can supply the tuition, books and other supplies a girl needs to attend school for a year.

This holiday season, consider giving a gift that is truly needed. 


1 comment:

  1. Mark Perry: It is amazing how the gift of a goat or a cow, even a chicken can so richly benefit a family in the rural areas of our world. Sometimes I think that the poor are richer than the "rich" since they can value something as basic as a goat or a cow in a way that is almost inconceivable to us in the (over)-developed world. As Thoreau once said, "A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone." (I'm quoting from memory). Thank you, Samantha, for reminding us of Heifer.