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, December 13, 2013

Living Gift Market

A couple of times in the past, my church (Monticello Presbyterian Church) has hosted a Living Gift Market to benefit Heifer International.  A Living Gift Market is a fun and festive way to raise funds for the impoverished people served by Heifer International.  We set up our Living Gift Market in our fellowship hall.  With colorful and interactive booths and music from around the world, it was like a street carnival!  Each booth represented one of the animals that Heifer International uses in its work.  The youth group painted signs for all of the booths and made some delightful papier-mâché animals.  I gathered additional decorations and printed facts and stories about each animal on multiple colors of paper.  Additionally, thanks to some great suggestions in Heifer’s Living Gift Market guide, I set up a number of hands-on activities.  It was a market to appeal to all five senses!

Even better, the Living Gift Market was an opportunity for people to “purchase” an animal in honor of a loved one.  Honor cards were available to note the gifts.  We have held our Living Gift Markets in the fall, the perfect time for a little early Christmas shopping.  The dollar amount associated with each animal represents the actual cost to provide that animal to a hungry family.  Making a tangible difference in the life of someone in need – what better way to celebrate Christmas?  Let me take you on a tour of our Living Gift Market:

Rabbit booth featuring baby carrots to eat and a photo opp with Bugs Bunny

Chicken booth featuring live chickens!

Sheep booth featuring a wool shawl and lotion containing lanolin, which comes from wool

Goat booth featuring a goat craft and goatees!

Pig booth.  We collected 1-lb. bags of beans or rice to demonstrate the increase in weight from a piglet at birth (3 lbs.) to six months old (200 lb.).  Afterwards, we donated all of the collected beans and rice to the Jasper County Community Food Bank.

Heifer booth featuring an old fashioned butter churn and a cow bell to ring

Llama booth featuring wool items from alpacas, which are cousins of llamas.  Also, because llamas are known for spitting, people could spit pumpkin seeds into a bucket.  Our youth came up with this seed spitting activity – it was one of the most popular attractions at our Living Gift Market!

Water buffalo booth featuring El Cita the carabao.  Water buffalo are known as carabao in the Philippines.  My stepfather, who is now retired, worked for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and traveled all over the world.  He brought El Cita back from the Philippines and let me borrow her for the Living Gift Market.

The water buffalo booth also had another popular market activity: making “dung patties” out of clay, just like children in India who make real water buffalo dung patties for their families to use as cooking fuel.

Bees and trees booth.  One of Robert’s and my hobbies is beekeeping, and so I brought some of our beekeeping equipment.  For the tree portion of the booth, people could hang a leaf on the small tree when they bought Heifer tree seedlings.  There were also nuts to snack on, reminding us of one of the many ways that trees are valuable.

"Bees" pollinate the fruit of the Spirit


Tally board

Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.  Proverbs 22:9

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