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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Check This Out

When I visited the Jasper County Community Food Bank a few days ago, I was so glad to see that the foods available there are high quality and wholesome.  Before I went, I was concerned that donations might primarily consist of cheap, high-calorie, yet nutrient-poor foods.  In American culture it’s so easy to rely on convenience foods, which generally are highly processed and loaded with sugar and/or fat.  These often are the least expensive foods, too.  Additionally, poor communities sometimes don’t have much choice if the grocery stores in their neighborhoods don’t carry fresh produce, whole-grain breads, and other nutritious choices.  I’m very grateful for the Ingle’s grocery store in our small Monticello community.  It’s not even the fanciest as far as Ingle’s goes (their stores in the nearby towns of Eatonton and Gray have even wider selections), but I can find just about everything I want there.  In fact, I’ve had quite a number of interesting check-out encounters because of the healthful items in my shopping cart.

I do a week’s worth of grocery shopping at the time.  That means that my cart always has a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in it.  The cashiers usually are teenagers, who often have no idea what some of these items are.  Seriously.  One of them actually asked me what my asparagus was.  Asparagus.  One of the most distinctive vegetables there is.  I guess if it had had one of those horrid stickers on it with the four-digit code, she wouldn’t have had to ask me what vegetable it was.  I understand that the stickers help the store track inventory and usually eliminate produce perplexity for the cashiers, but I can’t stand those things!  Especially on fruit.  Half the time, the sticky part won’t come off of the fruit skin, and so you have to gouge it off.  One of the activities in hell must be removing fruit stickers.

Other gems from the mouths of cashier babes have included, “You must be a health fanatic.”  Why, yes, I would rather eat delicious and nutritious foods that my body can actually use.  Another said, “You must cook from scratch a lot.”  Yep – if you want to eat healthy food, it comes in colors actually found in nature, but it doesn’t come in a box that you simply nuke.

Then there was the time that I bought some fresh ginger.  The cashier thought it was a piece of trash lying in my shopping cart.

One of my most memorable check-out incidents, however, did not involve produce.  I was buying a few Clif Bars for some upcoming bicycle rides.  The teenage girl bagging my groceries obviously didn’t exercise much.  I wouldn’t have even thought about that, but she felt compelled to comment on my purchase, and rudely at that.  As she placed my Clif Bars in the bag, she said, “Those are awesome, but they’re terrible for you.”  I replied, “They’re not terrible for you if you’re going on a long bicycle ride.”  I didn’t follow up with what I was really thinking, which is that they’re not intended to be eaten by people who never get off of the sofa.  Americans are so out of whack regarding fitness and nutrition that they don’t get that sometimes the whole point is to consume calories.

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