Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Batman and Batwoman

As we finish up this month that spotlights bats and the excellent work of Bat Conservation International (BCI), here’s something just for fun:

I’m always glad to tell people about bats, which are misunderstood yet so important to people and the rest of our ecosystems.  Several times I have had the opportunity to speak with groups about bats.  For a number of years I had the responsibility at my church of planning the programs for our monthly Family Night Suppers.  One month, the planned speaker had to cancel at the last moment, and so I had to come up with Plan B.  Hmm…it just happened to be October.  Also, we had just recently excluded the bats from the church building (see my post on 7/18/13).  It was the perfect time for a bat program.

I dressed in black and donned my bat wings and mask, which I had bought previously for only a few dollars in a clearance bin.  Dean, one of my young friends at church, had just received his Halloween costume in the mail that day.  He was so excited about dressing up as Batman that he begged his parents to let him wear the costume to church that night.  They said no.  Then, when Dean walked in and saw me in my bat costume, he wailed to his parents, “See!  I could have worn my Batman costume!”

The church members were interested and receptive to learning about bats.  First, I tried to dispel some bat myths, explaining that bats do not swoop down and get caught in people’s hair, and very few bats carry rabies.  Also, I told them about bats’ role in controlling insect populations and how they pollinate a number of plants that we use for food, drink, and fiber.  Maybe the audience discovered that they had had some wrong assumptions about bats.  I left them with one final thought: do we ever make similar wrong assumptions about other animals or even people?

Another time I got to speak to a pack of Webelo Cub Scouts at their bat campout.  This event was also in October, right before Halloween.  These young boys were so enthusiastic to learn about bats!  Additionally, they really liked the anatomically correct Jell-O brain and heart that I brought.  Heh heh.  Before I headed home that evening, the Scoutmaster presented me with a Bat Patrol badge and special Bat Campout patch that the pack had made for this event.  Cool!  I sewed them onto a bandana along with a Bat Conservation International (BCI) patch.  I’ve worn the bandana many times since then when I was promoting bats.  Also, it’s the perfect greyhound accessory when we go on a special outing.

A few weeks after I spoke to the Webelos, I saw one of the young boys at our local drugstore.  When he saw me, his eyes got big.  He pointed at me and said, “Batwoman!”

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