Alternatives to Buying Presents This Christmas: Give the Gift of Hope

Ten ideas to give the gift of hope this Christmas.  All around the world there is poverty and despair, yet in the Western World most of us live comfortably. We have safe homes, enough to eat and enough to celebrate our largest holiday, Christmas, with a number of presents given to loved ones. We give and we receive and we enjoy our celebrations.

 

For some, as the world is seemingly smaller, it seems like the right time to think globally rather than give “things” the recipient  doesn’t need. We give toys to children with shelves and boxes of toys already in their possession. We give clothing to children and adults who already have closets filled to overflowing. We look and look for another gift to give that the recipient doesn’t already own. In short, we’re a bit sick of giving more and more, we’d like some purpose to our giving.

 

Luckily there are hundreds of organizations  ready and willing to receive your gift to buy food, clothing, education and a new life for children or families around the world–those in real need. Can we really enjoy our holiday meals with tables groaning under the weight of the food items when in the back of our minds we envision the starving child’s emaciated body?

 

Why not join the ranks of those who choose to buy fewer gifts for friends and family while including a gift to a program alleviating  suffering somewhere in the world. Provide bags of grain to eat or seed to plant, buy water or electricity for a village, buy a safe home for a young girl who was sold into prostitution or make a small business loan to a budding third world entrepreneur.

 

Check out one of these organizations whose reputation is above reproach, whose heart is given to reach out to the poor. They’ve done the legwork so we don’t have to—we can simply give to those who know how to make our money stretch to meet critical needs.

 

Consider giving a gift this holiday season to one of the organizations listed below. And, have a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter and the satisfaction of sharing with those less fortunate.

 

She is Safe, formerly Sisters in Service is dedicated to the rescue and restoration of young girls who have been abused and exploited. She is Safe has projects in many countries around the world including North and East Africa, India, China and Indonesia. Check their website for ways to contribute to their projects.

 

Forward Edge International was created by Joseph Anfuso, originally as a short term missions organization. It has grown over the years to one of the foremost organizations to share love and hope with countries suffering with poverty, disaster and sickness around the world. From a feeding program in Mexico to disaster restoration in Haiti, Forward Edge meets the needs of desperate people with both short term and long term vision. Your gifts to their projects will change lives.

 

Mercy Corps is a highly regarded agency dedicated to bringing hope and dignity to the impoverished. They work all over Asia and Africa and in the United States as well where they respond to natural disasters with aid. Mercy Corps works in a variety of ways including agricultural development, child advocacy, women and children’s safety and education and much more.

 

Advent Conspiracy is an international movement that challenges the haves of the world to share with those less fortunate during the Christmas holiday season. Advent Conspiracy challenges us to love more and spend less. It encourages hands on sharing with others as well as sharing monetary gifts. You’ll be challenged to give presence rather than presents.

 

Village Artisan, writing a global story of change. This organization works with indigenous people groups to buy their handcrafted items and ensure they earn a fair wage. They sell top-quality items to those who can afford the items and at the same time bring up the standard of living of the artisans. Soaps and oils, sari scarves, wood items and a whole array of other beautifully crafted items are available on their website. When you shop here, you’re helping to change the life of the artisan.

 

Mennonite Central Committee is an organization with a big heart. It sends education, health, newborn, and other specialized “kits” to those in need around the world. The kits are put together and shipped around the world to those in poverty, in the midst of natural disasters and war situations. MCC also works with food and water projects and has reached out to those suffering and dying from the HIV virus around the world.

 

Shared Hope International, begun by Representative Linda Smith is an organization that rescues and educates abused and mistreated girls and women both abroad and in the U.S. Shared Hope specializes in trafficking of women and is focused on both preventative programs and rescue.

 

Samaritan’s Purse run by Franklin Graham is best known for its Christmas Shoebox projects in which poor children abroad receive a Christmas box prepared by a child from the Western world. But Samaritan’s Purse is so much more. It provides medical supplies and expertise, rebuilding programs for war-torn countries and those suffering from natural disasters, HIV programs, education programs, water development and more.

samaritans purse

Kiva.org changes lives one small loan at a time. For as much as it takes to buy a family of four a fast-food meal, you can enable another person to begin a small business to support a family.

 

This list of organizations is just a small representation of groups who do disaster relief work and material aid around the world. Each is unique in their giving, but all share the same heart. For an additional list of organizations to donate to this holiday season go to Globalcorps.com.

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