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.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weekly Children’s Book Review: Pirate Santa

Ahoy, me hearties!  Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD), one of me two favorite holidays.  (The other is Groundhog Day.)  ITLAPD is observed every September 19th.  To learn all about this swashbuckling celebration, visit  Arrrr!
(Artwork courtesy of Ghergich & Co.)
Fittingly, this week’s children’s book review is Pirate Santa by Clay Clement.  I spent me doubloons to get the iPad version, which is animated.  Shiver me timbers – the iPad version is also read by none other than Cap’n Slappy himself, one of the founders of ITLAPD.  Arrrr!
As the story begins, Cap’n Slappy is out at sea with his crew, Ninja Boy, and Pirate Gal. Christmas is approaching, and Ninja Boy and Pirate Gal anticipate all the treasures that Santa Claus will bring them.  Santa Claus just happens to be Cap’n Slappy’s cousin, but – avast! – Santa Claus does not give toys to Pirate Girls or Ninja Boys because of “the rules.”  The scurvy dog!  Arrrr!  Cap’n Slappy finds Santa Claus vacationing at the beach with Mrs. Claus.  Cap’n Slappy and Santa argue loudly but cannot reach common ground.
Cap’n Slappy comes up with a plan.  With help from his mates, he becomes Slappy Claus.  The mermaid Grace furnishes toys that she has collected in the sea current.  Then, thanks to some magical dust that Ninja Boy plunders from Santa Claus and some tiger sharks to pull the boat, Slappy Claus is ready to deliver toys to Pirate Girls and Ninja Boys.  Blimey, just before Slappy Claus sets sail, Santa Claus boards the ship and explains that all he needed to include the forgotten children was a pirate unhindered by rules.  Sounds like ol’ Santa Claus had a change in his pirattitude.  Arrrr!
Aye, this tale o’ kindness and cooperation will delight the wee ones any time o’ year, especially on ITLAPD.  And if ye be a not-so-wee one, read Pirate Santa and take a swig o’ grog to keep ye from keelhauling the shopkeepers who put out all of their Christmas booty before Halloween.

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