During the holiday season, kids are so focused on what they can get as presents they don’t always stop to think about what they can give. I’ve been working hard on helping my kids understand not all kids get presents because their parents can’t afford them. When we did our toy cleaning, the boys picked out some toys they don’t play with that would make terrific donations to Goodwill. We also chose some toys that weren’t so easy to part with.
Other families I know gather toys and leave them in a bag for Santa. Santa then takes them back to his workshop and fixes them up for other boys and girls — the ultimate recycling!
As my kids get older, we’ll teach them other ways to make a difference. With the holiday season around the corner, there are some easy ways to make a lasting difference not only for the people you are helping but for the children in your life. Here are some of my favorite charities your family can donate to or even give as a present.
My favorite presents that are about giving rather than getting are:
Kiva gives loans to individuals who are working their way out of poverty. It allows them to work their way to a better life. I absolutely love love love Kiva. (Did I mention I LOVE Kiva?) I have been using the same initial $100 for four years. I’m able to pick a country I want to support and the individual or group of individuals I want to help out. I invest in a person. They pay me back. I invest in a person. They pay me back. I invest in a person. Well, you get the point.
This year, why not give a gift certificate to Kiva for a young person to make the investment themselves? Then they can watch as they get paid back and reinvest in another person. What a wonderful way to show a teenager how their small loan can make a significant difference in a person’s life on the other side of the world. Visit Kiva.
Heifers? Aren’t those cows? Yep. You got it! Although they started with cows, you can now help a family get goats, llamas, chickens and even water buffalo! The families receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. What could be a better gift than to teach a kid how many people but to be self-sufficient but need help need in getting there? Visit Heifer International.
Through their Give Up a Gift for Africa campaign, African Children’s Choir is asking kids to donate the monetary value of their stocking stash to the program. African Children’s Choir helps raise education funds for the children in the choir as well as other kids in developing African countries, giving them a chance to break the cycle of poverty. Visit African Children’s Choir.
This year as you’re going through your Christmas list, don’t think just about the people in your lives but also the people whose lives you can positively affect.