Oh, the holidays. You could prepare to wait in lengthy store lines in crowded malls to buy the same old gifts that will more than likely be returned, or you could just buy a cow. That’s right, Heifer International offers alternative gift ideas that can help end world hunger by instituting self-sustainable communities where households receive training and livestock instead of food handouts. Donors, while honoring friends and family members through their gifts, purchase more than just dairy cows, water buffaloes, goats or chickens.
They help poor families achieve a life of dignity while also providing agricultural education for small farm initiatives. “From Heifer’s training and the sale of our additional calves, I’ve been able to put food on my table, send my children to college and learn how to manage my finances better,” said Arthur Neal, a member of the Delta Livestock Enterprise in Tallulah, La. The nonprofit’s Thailand program established improved agricultural techniques for families whose farming method quickly depleted the land.
With starvation being a serious threat, people left home to find work that too often led to prostitution and drug addiction. “Today we can establish ourselves as a community,” said Amui Wazu, Thai villager. “And Heifer has introduced us to kitchen gardens, which have been our savior. We have vegetables year-round!” Founded by Dan West in 1944, Heifer International has impacted more than 45.3 million lives by providing socalled “living loans.”
Farmers prepare for the arrival of their animals through training sessions, by building sheds and by planting vegetation. The animals bring the benefits of milk, wool, draft power, eggs and offspring. Families and communities repay their “living loans” by donating one or more of their animals’ offspring to others. This “passing on the gift” multiplies the impact of every donation-donations that support the entire Heifer mission and not just animal purchases.
So, this holiday season, give a unique gift and participate in a vision of a world without hunger.
For more information about this unique gift idea, visit http://www.heifer.org.