One of the things that I always try to invest in my children during the conspicuous consumption capitalism that makes up an American Christmas season is that it's always better to give than receive. Trite, but true. I want them to always be grateful for just how lucky they are and aware of how so many in the world live an existence far more tenuous than we do.
Now, that's not to say it hasn't been a tough year economically in our house. There's been plenty of belt-tightening, and the Christmas tree will have fewer gifts under it this year. But at the same time, I want my kids to understand that even little gestures can make the difference in others' lives. We made our annual trip to the battered women's shelter to donate clothes and toys. Their school adopted a homeless family for whom we donated coats, blankets and food. And finally, we sat down with them to pick out how we will help through The Heifer Project.
If you're unfamiliar with The Heifer Project, donations go towards the purchase of livestock or resources to help a family create a cycle of food or industry that will sustain the family or village for an extended period of time. For example, the purchase of a sheep will provide wool for use or sale, hopefully can be bred for additional sheep, droppings collected and sold as manure, and finally, used or sold for meat at some point. This year, we opted to purchase honeybees, which can provide a livelihood for a family with the sale of beeswax and honey.
Certainly, The Heifer Project is not the only worthy charity out there. YouTube has a Project Awesome call to solicit endorsements of charities.
In the spirit of giving, I ask what charities C&Lers endorse. Leave your recommendations in the comments, and hopefully, we'll see a little spirit going their ways.