Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December Charity: Heifer International

I'm trying something new. Each month, I will highlight a charity (it could be local, national or worldwide) and feature it on my blog. I will be making a $25 donation to that charity. It doesn't seem like much, however that is part of the point of why I'm doing this - to show that every little bit helps. I'm also doing this because charities have been hard hit by the recent economic crisis, and I'm hoping by highlighting a charity a month it will spark others to donate, too - donate money, items, time - anything to help. Choose your favorite charity and help make a difference.

Heifer International is a charity that aims to end world hunger and poverty while caring for the earth at the same time. The organization has several global initiatives, from educating on sound agricultural techniques to providing small monetary or livestock loans.

One of the most interesting aspects of Heifer International, and probably the reason the group is well known, are these loans of livestock around the world. Through donations from people like us, this non-profit is able to provide children and families with animal gifts that teach them self reliance and provide them with resources they desperately need.

A gift of a flock of ducks ($20) is good for both people and the environment. This gift will add protein to a diet from eating eggs. Recipients can sell eggs and ducks to make money. Ducks will also improve crops, because they eat weeds and bugs and add fertilizer. A gift of a pig ($120 and/or share of $10) is considered the most interest-bearing of the Heifer animals. Pigs don't need much land and can eat garden scraps. They can provide up to 16 piglets a year, too.

What's even better than the animal gift giving is that the recipient is not the only one to benefit from this gift. In accepting a Heifer International animal, recipients are required to donate the first offspring, spreading this goodwill that much farther. It's also a chain reaction - once the first offspring is donated, that family will donate the first offspring of their gift, too. For instance, if a heifer is donated (Cost $500 and/or $50 share), that cow can give birth to a calf every year. That first calf is given to another family in the community. Once their calf matures and gives birth, that calf, too, is donated. In this way, an entire community can eventually transition out of poverty.

Heifer International doesn't just find a community and dump off a bunch of animals. Recipients receive education in animal management, helping to insure that the animal will be treated well and families will benefit as much as they can from the gift. The livestock is kept in environments where it could be found naturally, as to not disturb the ecology of the area.

Since its founding in 1944, Heifer International has seen success in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and other parts of the world. It continues to grow and have an impact, and is certainly on the right track to ending world hunger and poverty, all the while sustaining the earth, too. I've thought this was an amazing charity since I learned about it several years ago, and that's why I chose it to highlight this month and to receive my little monthly donation.

Visit the website and choose a gift - they range in price from $10 shares to $1,500. With a few clicks of your mouse and a bit of money from your pocket, you can help end world hunger from your family room. Now, that's powerful.

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