There are a number of really worthwhile projects that offer us gift-giving alternatives to the usual run-of-the-mill items we wind up giving. Here are a few suggestions and we are always happy to add to this list, so feel free to e-mail your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include them.
If you want to know the backgrounds of these organizations and how much and where your gift actually goes, check them out at The Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=78). This site also lists the best and worst!
Helping Hand Worldwide: (http://thehelpinghandworldwide.org/index.html)
“Helping Hand Worldwide is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization supported by a variety of regional and local retailers such as Albertsons, BigLots, Trader Joe’s and Vons, to name a few who donate food and other goods.
Donations from retailers include produce, beef, poultry and dairy products, frozen foods, can goods, day-old breads, and other assorted products.
Helping Hand supports 13 regional food banks and 43 local community service organizations by providing food and other goods. Together we feed approximately 16,000+ individuals every month in South Orange County.
This is accomplished due to the efforts of the Helping Hand all volunteer work force.
The Helping Hand Mobil Food Pantry is made possible by monetary donations from Allergan, the Board of Realtors of Laguna Beach, the City of Dana Point, as well as private donors.”
Heifer International: www.Heifer.org/gift
Heifer is all about…”Our Work…Heifer’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.
With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.”
World Vision: http://www.worldvision.org/m/tt1?lpos=top_drp_HomeButton
Their mission: “Who We Are…World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
Watch a video about how this simple, low-cost gift from our Gift Catalog can help provide education and nutrtition for a child — and extra income for an entire family.
No child in America should go hungry……but millions do. And because our economy is in trouble, more and more are in need. This holiday season, help us provide food — and hope — to struggling fellow Americans.”
National Military Family Association: http://www.militaryfamily.org/
Here’s what they are all about: “The National Military Family Association is an organization with strong grassroots support balanced with professionalism that makes us a leader in the field. Not only do we support military families – we are military families. Spouses, parents, and family members make up our staff and board positions. We speak up on behalf of military families and empower husbands, wives, and children to understand and access their benefits. Based on what we hear from our members, we meet the needs of service members and their families with insightful recommendations, innovative programs, and grassroots efforts to better the quality of life for military families.”
“Creating Readers & Leaders…BookEnds, a nonprofit organization based in Southern California, is about Kids Helping Kids. BookEnds recycles children’s books through student-run book drives and places them in schools and youth organizations in need of books.
BookEnds believes that a literate child is the foundation of a thriving community. By providing access to books, BookEnds gives children the resources to develop literacy skills and to experience the joy and imagination of reading.”
Compassion First: http://www.compassionfirst.org/
The CF Mission is to “Live for the sake of others.”
Who they are: ”Compassion First provides long-term, hope-filled solutions for victims of child sexual trafficking. Like you, we want to make a difference, and help meet the overwhelming needs we see. For us, living for the sake of others means serving the world’s most vulnerable and giving them the same opportunities we have. By doing that, we bring healing, restoration and most importantly the means for a bright and hopeful future in the lives of women and young girls who have been sexually trafficked.
Compassion First seeks to always employ long-term strategies while engaging in transitional care for these victims…”
Visit their website for more information about this amazing organization which does so much for a little publicized segment of the world’s population.