Most of us are swimming or, more likely, drowning, in stuff. We don't need another gadget or doodad or gewgaw. But gift certificates seem so "Whatever." Like we couldn't think of anything else but had to put something under the tree, and surely they can find a gift at that giant online retailer that has everything from books to toys to tools to…well…you know which store I'm talking about.
If you're stuck for a last-minute present and dread fighting the hordes that seem to find the Battle of the Last Minute a thrill, then might I suggest giving a gift that will warm the heart and do some good in the community (and/or the world). And that's giving a gift to an organization or effort in the name of your giftee.
Friends of Family Farmers.
There are plenty of national and international groups that are highly rated by Charity Watch, a nonprofit that gives charities a letter grade based on their practices and the percentage of donation dollars that go directly to programs (rather than executives' salaries). But if you want to do some good right here at home, below you'll find a few organizations that are working hard to make the Northwest a better place to live.
Zenger Farm. A working urban farm that models, promotes and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. Working to build an Urban Grange, a hub for healthy food and community connection, right here in the city.
Friends of Family Farmers. A grassroots organization promoting sensible policies, programs and regulations that protect and expand the ability of Oregon’s family farmers to run a successful land-based enterprise while providing safe and nutritious food for all Oregonians through education, advocacy, and community organizing.
Farmers Market Fund. Providing low-income, elderly and under-served populations throughout the region increased access to fresh, locally grown food. Administers Fresh Exchange, a money matching program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, also known as food stamps.
The Portland Kitchen. Offers free, comprehensive culinary after-school and summer programming for Portland high school youth, age 14-18. Its mission is to empower urban youth to graduate high school with job skills and improved eating habits.
Organic Seed Alliance. Advances the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. Believes that seed is part of our common cultural heritage—a living, natural resource that demands careful management to meet food needs now and into the future.
The Pongo Fund. An emergency pet food distribution network, it provides quality pet food to people in need, keeping animals out of shelters and keeping pets healthy.
Others to consider are Growing Gardens, Grow Portland and Outgrowing Hunger (top photo). Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section below, and happy giving!
Read the other posts in this series: Gifts That Give Back, Mad Skills, Kids' Stuff, Bookin' It and Good Eatin'.