Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Gifting: Giving from the Heart

My idea of the perfect gift has these attributes:
  • It doesn't need dusting.
  • It reminds you of the person who gave it to you.
  • It makes you feel good every time you think of it.
Then add in:
  • It makes someone else's life better.
  • It benefits the community.
  • It may just change the world.
If that sounds like a little bit much to expect from a single gift, consider what Heifer International has done for impoverished families all over the world through donations of farm animals. Or what MercyCorps does for children and families worldwide, not just with disaster relief, but with programs teaching women to read, building irrigation canals, providing safe cookstoves and helping pregnant women with health care and nutritional information.

If you'd rather go hyperlocal and do something right here at home that will benefit your neighbors, consider giving a donation in your giftee's name to any of the following groups.
  • Farmers Ending Hunger began with Oregon farmers and ranchers who donating the food from an acre or two to feed the hungry. It resulted in thousands of tons of fresh food going to Oregon Food Bank for distribution throughout Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Consider adopting an acre or even a single row!
  • Zenger Farm is a working urban farm that models, promotes and educates the community about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. They also provide training for immigrant and refugee farmers in language and business skills as well as urban agriculture.
  • Oregon Food Bank works in Oregon and Clark County, Washington, with partner agencies to distribute emergency food to hungry families. They also address the root cause of hunger through public policy advocacy, nutrition and garden education and helping communities strengthen local food systems.
  • The Pongo Fund is Oregon's emergency pet food bank providing nutrition to the pets of the state's homeless and less fortunate men, women and children. It began when Larry Chusid saw two dogs, Jackson and Jewels, living with a homeless family under the Morrison Bridge and struck up a conversation with them. He brought food, treats, dog beds and coats…and that was more than one million meals ago.
If you have a favorite local charity that's making a difference in our community, feel free to leave it in the comments below. Happy holidays!

Read the other Great Gifting posts: The Art Around You, Eating is Believing and Keeping Spirits Bright.

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