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:
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:
- 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.