Yes, it is a bit early to think about Christmas, but one of my favorite Christmas catalogs arrived in the mail today. It’s from the humanitarian organization Heifer International — a group that reminds me of the dramatic difference one gift can make.
Through agricultural and livestock projects, Heifer International has helped impoverished families around the world for 70 years. The Christmas catalog lets you buy a gift for a poor family in honor of a loved one. The gifts, which include a $20 flock of geese, a $50 share of a heifer and a $150 llama, helps families get started on the path to self-sustainability. For example, a $30 gift of pollinating honeybees can help a small-scale coffee farmer increase production by 10 percent and provide honey for additional income.
According to its 12 Cornerstones of Just and Sustainable Development, Heifer International provides training, livestock, seeds, and other needed support to people in the poorest regions of the world. Through one of the most effective cornerstones, called “Passing On the Gift,” families who have been helped by Heifer International give to others in need in their communities. Other cornerstones include “Accountability,” “Nutrition and Income” and “Training and Education.” Women and men are encouraged to reach decisions together, and participants learn sustainable farming methods that protect the environment.
Food Network star Alton Brown explains the benefits of Heifer International:
So, if you’re looking for a way to make a difference this holiday season, look up Heifer International’s gift catalog. It’s called “The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World” for good reason. Individual acts of kindness really do make a difference!