by Virginia Sowers
ChildFund Community Manager
The day after Thanksgiving, my local newspaper inserts a busy elf on the lower corner of the front page with a kind reminder of 24 shopping days until Dec. 25.
Today, we’re at 17.
But I’m not panicking. I’m about to pull a rabbit (actually, a goat) out of my hat.
ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love & Hope still has an excellent selection of gifts with lasting impact for children. What better way to honor my friends and family than by giving a gift on their behalf to help someone truly in need?
Families in Sierra Leone lost all of their livestock during 11 years of brutal civil war. Now that the country is at peace and rebuilding, ChildFund is setting up school livestock programs.
Today, six schools maintain goats and sheep. The animals, contributed by ChildFund supporters through the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog, are housed in pens built by community members. The entire community is involved in the success of this project, and they are enjoying the benefits of better nutrition.
Now, that’s a truly wonderful gift.
So as the shopping days rapidly evaporate in this busy season, I’m resolving not to stress. Instead, I’m flipping through the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog and imagining the happy excitement of children around the world when they receive a gift from my family.
And I’ll also be able to share with my friends and family the true meaning of the honorary gift I’ve chosen for them this season.
If this sounds like a good idea for you, too, then take a look at ChildFund’s catalog. From farm animals to healthy environments, you’re sure to find a gift to multiply your love.
Rather than rushing to the big-box store at o-dark-thirty the day after Thanksgiving, consider this alternative shopping scenario.
You sleep in (if you’re fortunate enough to be off work).
Later in the morning, as you sip your tea or coffee, you flip on your computer and start checking off your gift list.
A great place to start your shopping day is at ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love and Hope online catalog. The gifts are unique, and each comes with a guarantee that the item you select will be used exactly as described in the catalog—whether that’s to improve nutrition of young children or to provide learning and development toys for a school.
Malaria is still the number one killer of children under the age of five worldwide. Mosquito nets for children in India, Afghanistan and The Gambia will provide protection for sleeping children and prevent malaria. Nets range from $5 to $14.
Children Helping Children
One section of the catalog helps children learn to share with others less fortunate. From board games to book bags to toys, these gifts range from $4 to $15.
The 20 List
And be sure to check out ChildFund’s 20 gifts under $20. Among the most popular gifts in this category are chickens and ducks that will provide nutrition and generate income for families in poor communities.
There, your shopping is all done without ever having to fight for a parking space at the mall.
Scouting for affordable gifts this holiday season?
At ChildFund, we’ve got you covered with 20 gift ideas for under $20. A gift that changes a child’s life is sure to inspire your friends and family.
Each tax-deductible item in the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog will help children and families in practical and tangible ways. A special card will be sent in your name to the gift recipients on your list.
The 20 List
1. a chicken and feed for a family in The Gambia ($4)
2. one duck for a child in Indonesia ($5)
3. corn and bean seeds for a family in Mozambique ($7)
4. educational toy for a child in Indonesia ($7)
5. book bag for a student in Sri Lanka ($7)
6. text book for a student in Liberia ($7)
7. mosquito net for an expectant mother in Zambia ($7)
8. 10 chicks for a family in Indonesia ($8)
9. chair for a classroom in Kenya ($9)
10. snack backpack for a child in the USA ($10)
11. pair of chickens for a family in Mozambique ($10)
12. two toys for a dream corner in Sri Lanka ($11)
13. mosquito net for a child in Afghanistan ($13)
14. board game for a youth center in Zambia ($13)
15. a pair of shoes to protect a child’s feet in Sri Lanka ($14)
16. mosquito net for a child in Mozambique ($14)
17. five story books for a dream corner in Sri Lanka ($14)
18. school bag with supplies for a child in Indonesia ($14)
19. warm blanket for a child in Mozambique ($14)
20. story and activity books for a school in the Philippines ($15)
Visit our catalog to choose from hundreds of additional items that will keep on giving to children and families in need worldwide.
It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge the special people in your life this holiday season.
Flip through the pages of ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, and you’ll glimpse the hopes and dreams expressed by children in the 31 countries where we work — including the United States.
Here’s a sampling from the wish lists of vulnerable and excluded children who are anxiously waiting to see if their greatest needs are met.
2009 Wish List Items
• soccer team kit for children in Mozambique
• one large pig for a family in Zambia
• board game for a youth center in Zambia
• scholarship for the “Little Chef” nutrition program in the United States
• water buffalo to help a family in Indonesia with the hard work of farming
• a well and hand pump for a community in Afghanistan (carrying water long distances makes children too tired to attend school)
• mosquito net for children in India
• pair of goats for a family in Ethiopia
• set of beds and mattresses for family in Bolivia
• learning and development toy kit for children in Brazil
• a cow for a family in Indonesia
• five chickens with a pen for a family in Kenya
• 10 fruit tree seedlings for a family in Brazil
• a table and two chairs for a classroom in The Gambia
• supplies for a community garden in the United States
• vegetable seeds and a watering can for a family in Timor-Leste
• a sewing machine for girls in Guinea
• concrete floor for a family home in Mexico
Each gift you choose will be used exactly as described in the catalog. The gifts come in all shapes and sizes — and price ranges — and are a great way to become more familiar with the work ChildFund does.
Visit www.ChildFund.org/gifts for more ideas on how to make dreams come true this holiday season.
In a recent ChildFund International online survey, 43 percent of adults said their favorite gift to give children and teenagers is a toy. The majority of respondents also said they like to help others during the holidays through contributions, donations via a gift catalog, volunteering in the community or adopting a family.
During the 10-day survey, we asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers about their favorite gift when they were growing up. The results:
• 31 percent dolls
• 15 percent electronics/video games
• 15 percent other (books, clothing)
• 7 percent sports equipment
• 6 percent board games
We conducted the survey on our social media platforms to raise awareness of ChildFund’s Gifts of Love and Hope catalog. Each gift chosen from the catalog is used exactly as described, whether it’s a soccer ball for children in Brazil, a mountain bike for a youth advocate in Zambia or an outdoor game set for Ethiopia.
The gifts come in all shapes and sizes — and price ranges — and are a great way to become familiar with ChildFund’s work to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children around the world become leaders of enduring change.
Forty percent of survey takers cited books as a favorite holiday gift to give others. In the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, $38 will purchase three reference books for a school in the Philippines and $14 will buy five story books for a children’s “Dream Corner” in Sri Lanka.
Candy and books tied as the favorite stocking stuffer, with 31 percent of survey respondents identifying each. Five percent of respondents listed toothbrushes as a favorite stocking stuffer — children of dentists perhaps?
For the upcoming holiday season, here are some original stocking-stuffer ideas sure to make your loved ones smile: corn and bean seeds for a family in Mozambique ($7); 10 chicks for a family in Indonesia ($8); a 60-day supply of vitamins for a child in Belarus ($21).
Traditions are an important part of the holidays. In our survey, the holiday meal was a top favorite, as cited by 31 percent of respondents. Another 23 percent selected decorating. Fifteen percent said looking at holiday lights, and 11 percent selected volunteering as their favorite holiday traditions.
Among the pages of the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, it’s easy to find unique ways to share those holiday traditions with others in very practical ways. Just think of the excellent meals that could be prepared in the eco-oven and chimney by a family in Honduras ($143).
Imagine the decorative items that a young person in Indonesia could make with a new set of weaving materials ($40). Think about how a solar lantern ($117) to study by at night will light up a child’s eyes in India.
So this year as you look for that perfect gift for those special people in your life, consider one that also helps children and families around the world. Multiply your love.