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, October 24, 2013

Food Day

Happy Food Day!  Today is a nationwide celebration to help people Eat Real.  This means cutting back on sugary drinks, processed foods, and factory-farmed meats in favor of sustainably grown vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and meats.  It’s better for our health, and it’s better for our planet.  I’d like to focus on two topics to celebrate Food Day:

1)      Local, In-Season Produce

If you’ve been following my blog for A Year of Centuries, hopefully you’ve picked up on the importance I place on a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables.  I try to take it a step further, though.  As much as possible, I select produce grown close to my home that’s in season.  During the spring and summer, I visit my local farmers market, where I find all kinds of wonderful Georgia grown items like peaches, okra, peas, blackberries, and sweet potatoes.  Even at the grocery store, I make a point to purchase the produce marked as coming from Georgia or other Southeastern states.  Conversely, if a certain item has traveled a very long distance, I avoid buying it.  For example, the Chilean grapes look beautiful during the cold of winter, but it takes a lot of energy to transport them from South America to here.  Instead, I opt for citrus fruits and other choices that are in season locally.  Paying attention to what’s in season at different times of year actually can increase enjoyment of fruits and vegetables.  The sweet Vidalia onions of spring; the vine-ripe, homegrown tomatoes of summer; the juicy muscadines of early fall; the fresh collards of winter – just the anticipation makes them taste that much better when it’s finally time to partake!

2)      School Food

I worked for a few years as the financial director for a school.  This gave me an unvarnished view of the foods that children and teenagers typically eat.  The lunches that the school served were fair from a nutrition standpoint, but I wish it were more cost effective to serve things like salads of mixed greens instead of iceberg lettuce.  What bothered me even more, though, was the prevalence of sugary, high-fat, and nutritionally poor foods in so many other aspects of school life.  Each morning the middle and high school students had a break, when they went to the cafeteria for a snack.  The items that they could purchase included options like chips, sugary cereals, and ice cream.  Additionally, various clubs and school groups were constantly selling things like doughnuts and chicken biscuits as fundraisers.  Then there were the athletic events.  Several sports were played every season, and concessions were a large revenue stream for the athletic program.  I don’t know that a single healthy item was ever offered at the concession stand.  It was soft drinks, candy, hotdogs, French fries, etc.  I was responsible for counting the cash boxes after every sporting event.  I can still remember the overpowering odor of grease wafting out of the concession boxes when I first opened them.  I am greatly concerned that the students at this school – and at so many other schools – are eating a steady diet of unhealthy foods.  I understand that raising money and cutting costs are vital to a school.  But what is the real price of these food choices?

No comments:

Post a Comment