Giving Charity This Christmas

by heather

Many people will be heading out to the mall this weekend to do some last minute holiday shopping. They’ll be snatching up cashmere sweaters, wool socks, indoor golf sets, and perhaps some candles and cheese sets.

But, how meaningful are these gifts, anyway? Does anyone really need any more “stuff” like this?

In most cases, the answer is no.

If you’re searching for some last minute Christmas gifts, then I’d like to take just a minute to offer up some ideas that could really change someone’s life

This time of year we want to give something. We’re taught from an early age that giving is an act of love. When we give, we show our true feelings towards others. And, giving just feels good. It’s like an instant pick-me-up.

That’s the great thing about giving a charitable gift. You’re not only showing your love for someone, but you’re also showing love for the world at large.

Charitable Giving During the Holidays

Usually the holidays are when charities rake it in. But this year, however, they’re feeling the pinch of this recession.

When you stop and think about it, giving your money to places like Target, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, or Bloomingdales isn’t going to make much of a difference in the world. But by giving your holiday dollars to charity, you can impact the lives of many people around the world.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know if someone made a charitable gift in my name for Christmas I would be thrilled. What better way to show love than to truly help someone in need?

I think the gift of charity is the best gift you could offer someone. Here are a few ideas you can consider:

Heifer International

One of my favorite charities is Heifer International.

This organization is amazing. Basically, you “buy” a farm animal, which goes to a needy family in one of over 50 countries around the world.

Heifer International believes that simply giving food to hungry people is a short-term solution. But giving an animal will feed them continuously; families sell the milk, eggs, or offspring from their animal for years, and their quality of life improves dramatically.

What’s even more amazing about Heifer International is that they require every family to give away the first offspring of the animal to another needy family in their village. In turn, that family must give away their first offspring, and so on down the line.

Basically it’s like a pyramid; one gift of one animal can transform dozens of families in an area.

You can give all kinds of animals to people in all different regions. Here’s a list of some of their gifts:

  • Heifer: $500
  • Sheep: $120
  • Flock of Chicks: $20
  • Trio of Rabbits: $60
  • Pig: $120
  • Honeybees: $30
  • Water Buffalo: $250

If those prices are a bit out of reach for you, then you can also opt to “share” an animal.

For instance, say you’d love to give a cow but $500 is too expensive for you this year. Well, you can give $25 and “share” a cow; once a bunch of smaller donations have accumulated, a heifer can go to a family in need.

If you’d like to learn more about Heifer International, this check out this great video from Forbes Magazine. They interviewed the CEO of Heifer International, Jo Luck, and she explains more about the organization, and how they’re faring in this recession.

The Nature Conservancy

Another great option for giving charity this Christmas is The Nature Conservancy.

For instance, you can “adopt” an acre of rainforest in Brazil, an acre of savannah in Africa, an acre of coral reef in Palau, or an acre in the Appalachian Mountains. Your gift will help protect that regions valuable resources, and keep it from being developed or harmed in the future.

Click here to find out more about The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt-An-Acre giving program.

Last Chance Rescue

The charity that is without a doubt closest to my heart is Last Chance Rescue.

Last Chance Rescue is a charity local to Southeast Michigan. Basically, they’re the angels of the dog and cat world. They swoop in and rescue animals who are about to be euthanized. They put them in foster care, and then go about finding them a permanent home.

In many cases, the animals have been hours from certain death when a volunteer has stepped in to save them.

Here in Southeast Michigan, foreclosures and unemployment is much higher than the national average. Dogs and cats are getting abandoned without a second thought and donations are nosediving, which means more and more animals are getting euthanized.

If you’d like to adopt a dog or cat in someone’s name, then Last Chance Rescue is a great option. You truly save a life by giving to this organization.

If you happen to live here in Southeast Michigan and are thinking about getting a dog or cat, please consider adopting one of their animals. They have plenty to choose from, all of whom would love to have a family to love!

Oh, if you happen to fall in love with the cute puppy in the picture, her name is Heidi. She’s a Newfoundland, and is waiting for a good home (along with an entire batch of brothers and sisters!). You can find out more about Heidi here.

Want More Charity Resources?

If so, then don’t miss Intelligent Giving. This site gives you the lowdown on on over 1,300 charities from around the world.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

elisa December 14, 2011 at 2:33 am

I love that you said ” But, how meaningful are these gifts, anyway? Does anyone really need any more “stuff” like this?”

I completely feel the same way – and I feel that gift giving needs to become more socially responsible.

A few months ago I was at a wedding where the bride and groom – gave the guests a unique thank you card – it was a way to donate ( their money ) to any charity of the guests choice via an Organization called “Charity Choice” I loved this idea so much – this is the holiday gift of my choice – basically for whatever sum you choose they will print out cards ( any kind ) with whatever amount chosen – that you can hand out to people and let them decide where the money goes.
I brought it up where I work – hat this was a great way for my company to give gifts – use them as stocking stuffers – and they can even choose business cards ( great way to remember someone – when they give you an amount to donate to the cause of your choosing)

Anyhow – you should look into it –

their website is http://www.charitygiftcertificates.org/

Elisa

Angels with Faith Ministries 501c3 charity July 5, 2012 at 4:18 am

Angels with Faith Ministries 501c3 non-profit charity kicks off our annual Christmas Angels Program on November 1st to help provide Christmas,warm clothing & Holiday food baskets to needy children & their families in Georgia.You can adopt a family for Christmas & choose to meet them & work with them personally or as a secret Santa through us or donate Toys (new & lightly used),Bikes,baby needs,warm clothing,Food for Holiday Food baskets,gift cards,computers of any kind,electronics,gifts for older children,or make a tax deductible monetary donation via paypal on our websites or by mail or in person to help provide for 100s of children in need this Christmas.We receive 100s of families each year sent to us once the bigger charities are full or stop taking applications DFCS,Toys for Tots,Salvation Army,goodwill,Empty stocking,operation Christmas Child,The miltary,churches,Schools ,caring neighbors etc.Last year we provided Christmas to over 300 families & this year we expect many many more but since we receive NO funding we rely strictly on the tax deductible donations of Angels.ALL donations are compeltely tax deductible for every cent that you spend & 100% of all donations go directly to helping those in TRUE need.We are all volunteers working to make a difference & have 0 overhead costs,we have 2 websites built & run by our volunteers angelswithfaithministries.beep.com & angelswithfaithministries.org. We try very hard to not turn anyone in true need away as long as they live in Georgia (any county),are not receiving Christmas assistance from anywhere else(we do check after isuues last year) & are in true financial need of christmas help but all families who are not adopted or sponsored by the week of Christmas are required to come to Winder,Georgia 30680 on a specified date to pickup thier families Christmas.We have volunteers available to pickup donations in Barrow county,Jackson County,Gwinnett county,hall county,forsythe county,Athens,Atlanta,Cobb county etc all over Georgia.Be a Christmas Angel This Year & help us Make a Difference in the lives of children who truelly deserve our help.We are a federally approved charity EIN number 27-1972461.Thank you & GOD BLESS!!

Angels with Faith Ministries 501c3 charity July 18, 2013 at 3:16 am

Angels with Faith Ministries has moved our new permanent location is 198 Dogwood Lane Cleveland GA 30528.We are gearing up for another busy Christmas Angels Program,we have volunteers ready to pickup donated toys,warm clothing,baby needs,gifts for teens,electronics,computers of any kind for kids for school,nonperishable food etc.We hope that you will join us & be a Christmas Angel this year our program starts November 1st each year but you can sign up early & then choose your families to adopt or sponsor once they start coming in & being posted on November 1st,each family is added as they come in with 1st names,city,each childs name,age,sizes & actual Santa list to make it easy for Christmas angels to choose which families they would like to adopt or sponsor&remember every cent that you spend is tax deductible even gas & mileage for charity & you can choose to actually meet & work with your chosen families directly or sponsor them through us,last year we were blessed with a record number of Christmas Angels & helped 1083 kids who would not have had anything under the tree & this year we expect many more.We do not turn a child in true need away no matter where they live in Georgia our goal is to assure that no child in Ga will ever go without the happiness & joy that comes on Christmas morning because most of them do without & live in poverty all year long they truelly deserve a wonderful Christmas & we can all make that difference by being Christmas Angels.visit our website for more info http://angelswithfaithministries.beep.com we help in all counties of Georgia because every child deserves a wonderful Christmas blessing!

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