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 11, 2013

Dining with Presbyterians

My church, Monticello Presbyterian Church, will celebrate its 185th anniversary next year.  That may seem like an odd anniversary to highlight, but as our pastor reminded us, if we Christians are not all about celebrating, we might as well pack up and go home.  We’ll be celebrating our anniversary in many ways in the coming months, including some special community service activities.  We’re kind of getting a jump start on the festivities, however, through Dining with Presbyterians.

Dining with Presbyterians is an opportunity for groups of our church members to eat dinner together once a month for three months, September through November of this year.  We signed up ahead of time, and the organizers assigned us to groups of 8 to 10 people, which change each month.  The host is in charge of the entrée and beverages.  Other people are assigned bread and salad, a vegetable, or dessert.  The main point of the gatherings, however, is to enjoy getting to know each other better.  Last night was our second of the three dinners, and it was a lot of fun.

Eating with family and friends is (hopefully) a frequent experience for us.  But what if we took it a step further?  Not that it would be easy, but wouldn’t it be something to actually share a meal with a hungry person?  Jesus often ate with society’s outsiders, like tax collectors and prostitutes.  I think he set this example for us because he knows that food gets at our common humanity.  It’s not just that we all have to eat; we’re a lot more likely to get along when we enjoy the savory aromas and delectable tastes of a shared meal.  Maybe that’s why the Bible describes heaven as being like a giant banquet.  Heh heh.  I can’t help but think that some of us will be surprised by who our dining companions turn out to be.

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