As the holiday seasons quickly approaches everyone is starting to brows stores and write shopping lists for their friends and families. This year take a few moments to consider an alternative gift list for your loved ones.  There are some innovative organizations that make donation gifts a lot more fun. Instead of giving classic material gifts like scarves or chocolates to your family you can help families struggling with hunger and poverty around the globe.

Heifer International Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty. When American Dan Heifer worked as an aid worker during the Spanish Civil War he realized that distributing cups of milk to the hungry was only a temporary solution.  He thought to himself “why not give them a cow?” This is the philosophy that drives Heifer International.

Their holiday gift catalog titled “The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World” allows individuals the chance to give a very meaningful gift to those on their list. In the catalog you can chose from a variety of options including donating an animal, providing women with empowerment, supporting sustainable farming, or providing families with basic necessities. Here are some of the great gifts you can give:

1.     Heifer – $500 (full) or $50 (share)

2.     Sheep – $120 (full) or $10 (share)

3.     Bountiful Harvest Basket – $72

4.     Gift of Irrigation Pumps – $150

5.     Launch a Small Business – $365

World Vision World Vision has a similar program called the “World Vision Gift Catalog” that allows people to give gifts that aid people living in poverty both in the United States and globally. They have a large assortment of gifts ranging from emergency aid to care for orphans and widows. Some of their most popular gifts are:

1.     Goat and Two Chickens – $100

2.     $350 Worth of Medicine – $35

3.     Hope for Sexually exploited Girls – $35

4.     $250 worth of necessities in the USA – $25

5.     Share of a Deep Well – $100

Charity Choice If you would like to let your loved one chose a charity that will be particularly meaningful to them consider Charity Choice Gift Cards.  Founded in 2004 by Mark Finkel, Charity Choice allows buyers to make a donation and receive either a paper card or eCard. This gift card entitles the recipient to select a charity for their gift to be donated to from an online list of over 250 charities.

Lisa Toole

Sources: Heifer International, World Vision, Charity Choice