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Give Thanks, Give Back

November 20, 2009

This Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful for my job and all that my paycheck provides: food on the table, a roof over my head, good shoes to stand in, a warm coat in these Chicago winters, and reliable transportation. I’m thankful for my thriving community; the supermarket, the pubs, the boutiques, my friends near and far, my support system, and my husband. I’m thankful for all of life’s little luxuries that are second-nature to me now: the Internet, Trader Joe’s, magazine subscriptions, digital cable, and outlet malls.

Imagine one day, you walk into your job and are told never to come back. Your final paycheck arrives and you spend it on rent. You call your parents and it seems they’ve lost their jobs, too. Regardless, you move in with them once you’re inevitably kicked out of your apartment. Your family struggles to stay afloat. Your government can’t help you. Your friends and extended family are all strapped for cash, too. Your parents can no longer afford the mortgage but no one is hiring. Meals are taken at the local soup kitchen. The homeless shelter is full.
The only thing that can help is a source of income.

Sadly, this is not a hypothetical to millions of families around the world. The statistics are horrifying. Nearly 100 million people are homeless in the world. (Source.)

How could we let this happen on our watch?
How can we snuggle up in our warm beds with a satiated appetite and not feel thankful?
What can we do?

We can start by embracing the season of giving. We can start right now.

Sustainable communities are the literal bread and butter for millions of underprivileged populations. And this is where you come in.

Today, a friend asked me, “Do you know anyone who would be interested in giving to” The short answer: “Yes.”

Heifer International is an organization that provides livestock to families in need. The livestock is not only a source of food, but a source of income. For instance, you can give honeybees and the family can sell the honey. Selling honey = buying food for the family = win!

For this particular project, the goal is the Heifer Gift Ark. Heifer International describes this gift as follows:

The Heifer Gift Ark offers hope worldwide to families who are poor and hungry. You’ll help families start on a journey to fulfill a seemingly impossible dream – to secure food and a source of dependable income. Each family who receives livestock will pass on one or more of the animal’s offspring to other families who are in need in their community. Every gift will multiply for years to come. Imagine how your gift could change the world. Two cows bring milk and income to a Russian village. Two sheep help families in Arizona produce wool. Two camels help families in Tanzania earn income by transporting agricultural and industrial materials. Two oxen pull plows and carts in Uganda. Two water buffalo help Cambodian families increase rice production through animal draft power. And that’s just the first five sets of animals … your ark provides 15 pairs of animals to change lives.
What a wonderful way to bring joy to the world!

In addition to physical donations, Heifer International is also committed to finding global solutions, the growth of agroeconomy, animal welfare, gender equity, the HIV-AIDS pandemic, advancing microenterprise, building urban agriculture, and focusing on youth. Read more about their initiatives here.

There is no minimum and no limit to the monetary unit you can donate. Some ideas:

  • Forgo your latte and donate that $4
  • Cut some coupons and donate the money you saved at the grocery store
  • Donate your Etsy sales for the next two weeks
  • Donate your tips for the week
  • Ask your coworkers, family, friends, and total strangers to chip in a few bucks
  • Spread the word on your blog and link to this post!

In return, I’ve lined up generous giveaway donations two of my favorite Etsy shops (so far): Joyful Star and Les Jou Jou. Anyone who donates will be entered into the giveaway drawing and the winner will receive gift certificates from Joyful Star and Les Jou Jou. Guys, your girlfriends/sisters/mothers will LOVE you this Christmas if you buy their gift from here! (If you would like to contribute to the giveaway, please contact me.)

The donation and giveaway period will end December 4 in order for the gift to be delivered in time for Christmas. To donate, click here or hit up the PayPal donation button at the top of the sidebar.

Peace be with you this holiday season. Let’s not take our little luxuries for granted. Let’s give the gift of community and sustainability together.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2009 7:34 pm

    DONE. 🙂 this makes me happy. such a great cause.

  2. November 20, 2009 8:52 pm

    Donated. Thanks for sharing such a great cause with us!

  3. November 21, 2009 11:14 am

    What a great partnership and cause – I’m so in 🙂

  4. dreamstela permalink
    November 24, 2009 2:25 pm

    My family has done something like this at Christmas for a few years now. One year we gave something like 12 goats to a village in Africa. It feels SO good to give back.

    Definitely going to donate.

  5. November 28, 2009 12:50 am


    Your a jewel.

    I had absolutely no idea that this organization existed. What an amazing way to give back to in a way that just never stops.

    I am going to sit down with my fiance tonight and show him this. We have been tossing ideas back and forth about how have been wanting to find an organization to donate to instead of gifting this year for our family.

    I just was hit with this idea to find a little stuffed animal goats to every one of my family members and telling them we donated a goat in their honor. How great would that be. Better than giving them a candle.

    Thank you for taking the time to post this. I’m so excited!

  6. December 1, 2009 2:04 pm

    This is awesome! Donation in 🙂


  1. Semi-Settled» Blog Archive » Give a Goat…

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