I know, I know. Christmas is over. Trees are dropping their needles at an alarming rate, I’ve made a clean sweep of several bags of wrapping paper, and I’m thinkin’ about taking the Christmas kitsch down.
My Christmas was fulfilling and, surprisingly, largely music-gift free — unless you count the singing frog toy (from an elderly relative) that squawks that “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” song when you squeeze its foot. Other than that . . .
As I sit bloated in excess, and enjoying the extra bit of cash I have now lining my pocket, one thing that always deeply touches me every year is to sit down and read the World Vision Gift Catalog. I see what a difference I could make in a very, very real and immediate way in someone’s life with just a little bit of the resources that I am so blessed with. There are some really cool ideas contained within these pages. So yes, allow me to get a little Sally Struthers on you for a minute, and use this blog for a bit of good – here are some ideas of worthy final resting places for your end-of-the-year largesse:
Provide a goat
The early-morning bleating of a dairy goat is a happy sound for children in countries like Haiti and Kenya. They know it’s ready to be milked! A goat nourishes a family with fresh milk, cheese, and yogurt, and can offer a much-needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market. It even provides fertilizer that can dramatically increase crop yields. A perennial favorite, both to give and receive!
[$75 – give]
Change a child’s life through music education
Music instruction can be life-changing for a child â€” cultivating his or her ability to learn, fostering emotional development, and allowing an expression of inborn creativity. For children with troubled backgrounds or impoverished living conditions, it is especially beneficial. Your gift provides training and musical instruments such as guitars, xylophones, and keyboards to benefit children in need in countries like Indonesia, El Salvador, and Mozambique.
[$20 – give]
Warm woolen blanket
Even in warm-weather climates, nights can be chilly, especially at higher elevations. Show your love by wrapping a child, expectant mother, AIDS patient, or elderly person in a clean, durable wool blanket for a cozy night’s sleep.
[$30 – give]
Small business loan for an impoverished woman
Put strength in the hands of an impoverished woman with a small loan she can use to start or expand a business â€” the income from which can help feed, clothe, and educate her children. As loans are repaid to World Vision’s WILFund (Women’s International Loan Fund), the funds are used to provide new loans to others. Your gift today can be recycled to literally hundreds of women in years to come!
[$100 – give]
Help pay for a much-needed eye surgery
Imagine being kept out of school, or shunned by your peers, for having crossed eyes â€” or trying to care for young children without being able to see well. Your gift, in partnership with a nonprofit eye clinic in Azerbaijan, can provide surgery for children suffering from seriously impaired vision. Or, it can resolve common yet debilitating vision problems for a Zimbabwean grandparent caring for children who have lost parents to AIDS.
[$20 – give]
The gift of play: Soccer balls
Playtime is an essential part of childhood, but many impoverished children have never even seen a real toy. Your gift of a soccer ball will replace rounded wads of trash and banana leaf balls for an energetic boy or girl. And with a generous match from Baden Sports, your gift gives two brand-new balls instead of just one!
[$16 – give]
Wait for it . . .
We Are The World – U.S.A. For Africa
(man alive, that brings back some serious mid-’80s memories for me! You know it makes you want to sway back and forth with one hand over your ear -like holding a headphone- and wail like Tina Turner)