"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”
I have always loved this quote. Contributing to self-sufficiency programs is such a wonderful way of giving because it sets the beneficiaries up for the long term, empowers them to help themselves, and preserves their dignity. But I think there's one part missing: the man's going to need a net, otherwise he's going to come home empty handed. The world is full of bright, hardworking people who just can't get a leg up because they don't have the infrastructure or can't afford a small capital investment to get started.
Every year at around this time I receive the World Vision Gift Catalog, and every year I think what a great job they are doing by giving folks here a chance to help people around the world through unique gift ideas for the holiday season. Donate to their Maximum Impact Fund, which helps children and families throughout the world, and you can choose from a variety of beautifully crafted artisan gifts. You can choose from items like accessories, children's toys, holiday ornaments and jewelry like this gorgeous Artisan Beaded Necklace. World Vision sent me a sample necklace, and I can't think of any woman who wouldn't want to receive it for the holidays:
You can wear it as a single strand, or your can double-loop it around your neck. The beautifully colored beads go with anything, and I love the mix of chunky beads and dainty strands.
I think it's truly the perfect holiday present for someone who has everything.
Another great gift option is making a donation in someone else's name. The World Vision Gift Catalog puts a personalized twist to the idea: instead of making a straight cash donation, you're actually buying items that help people out around the world, like donkeys or fish. Who would want a stinky old animal? A poor family in Rwanda would -- that's where your gift goes, and that's where the real Christmas spirit lies. Your gift recipient gets a happy, warm feeling, and the physical gift actually benefits people around the world who truly need a holiday gift.
There is such a wide variety of gifts and causes in this catalog to suit anyone's tastes. You can choose a cause that's especially close to your gift recipient's heart. For example, I would love to receive a couple of ducks because they benefit families in the Philippines, where I'm from. Or you can tailor the gift to your recipient's tastes and personality. For example, you could give soccer balls to a soccer fan -- only he won't be kicking the balls around, poor children in Africa or Asia or Latin America will. Or you could give a duck to an animal lover. Or a deep water well to a swimmer. You can even help families across the USA, with school supplies, clothing, even toiletry kits and other emergency essentials to assist the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The only negative thing I can think of to say about this program is the obvious Christian focus, which could turn some people off. I don't know how many bibles or missionary pitches come along with the rabbits and sheep, but that may not be something that an atheist or Hindu might want to contribute money towards. But honestly, it's hard to argue that this is a bad cause, whether you're Christian (disclosure: I'm a Catholic) or not. Helping people help themselves is something that every person of every faith, or lack of it, can believe in!
Win an Artisan Beaded Necklace
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win an Artisan Beaded Necklace from the World Vision Gift Catalog!
Check out the World Vision Gift Catalog and leave a comment on this post telling me which gift you would most like to give or receive.
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I entered the World Vision Gift Catalog giveaway!
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on November 29, 2012; I will draw a winner at random on November 30 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.
Disclosure: World Vision provided a sample gift item for me and a second gift item for the giveaway prize. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.