Christmastime is the busiest time of the year for many charities. People are getting into the holiday spirit, donating and volunteering more than at any other time. There is a desire among many to share our blessings by helping the less fortunate at this merry time of year. Unfortunately, for the poor, the Christmas season doesn't last long enough. This year, as you make your holiday donations, consider giving a gift that will keep giving all year long, or better yet, make a commitment to keep donating on a weekly or monthly basis throughout the coming year.
Gifts that Keep on Giving
Charities such as Heifer International and Gospel for Asia give you the chance to change the life of a person, a family, or even an entire village by giving gifts that lift the recipients to a higher standard of living. These gifts provide hope for people who have been stuck in poverty. They provide the possibility of a better life. Here are a few examples:
- Animals: Who wants a goat, a cow, or a pair of chickens for Christmas? Millions of poor people all over the world! Sheep, pigs, rabbits, camels, mules, and water buffalos are among the animals you can choose to gift to an impoverished family. These animals provide meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and wool for the recipients, and whatever the family doesn't need can be sold to buy clothing, blankets, and other items.
- Clean water: We take water for granted, but in many areas there are two choices: die of dehydration, or drink the water and get sick. A $1,000 donation will dig a well that will provide clean water to an entire village for many, many years. This simple gift that costs less than many families spend on their kids for Christmas completely transforms the lives of those who drink from it.
- Business starters: There are many gifts you can give that will help a poor person start his or her own business and give them a way to earn money to take care of their family. These gifts include sewing machines, rice threshing machines, and rickshaws.
Gifts You Can Give Year-Round
Here are a few examples of gifts you can keep giving year-round:
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen: Why not volunteer once per month instead of once or twice per year during the holidays? There are hungry people to feed all year round.
- Sponsor a child: There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of charities and missionary groups that allow you to sponsor a child. What the child gets as a result of your sponsorship depends on the organization, but there is no doubt that you will be making a huge difference in the child's life.
- Work with kids in your community. Be a Big Brother or Big Sister, volunteer to lead a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop, or become a 4-H leader. Be a good role model for a child who needs one.
Of course, you can donate to any charity year-round. If none of these jump out at you, check with your own favorite charity to see if you can make a monthly pledge, then put it into your budget right away so you don't forget. You may even be able to set up an automatic bank draft.
There are 925 million hungry people in the world. There is enough food to go around, but millions of people simply can't afford to buy what they need to survive. This year, resolve to make a real, lasting difference rather than just a one-time donation.
About the Author: For James Renault of Schoolfunrun.com.au, fundraising ideas are a passion. The adidas School Fun-Run fills that passion by giving schools a no-risk way to raise money while promoting good health at the same time.