American Culture

Holiday gifts that make a difference: Good Gifts and Farm Africa

One of the things we have done in Christmases past is to check out the Good Gifts catalog here in the UK. And it turns out that you can do this online as well. Good Gifts basically is a clearing house for good deeds—the give you all sorts of worthy groups and charities to donate to at the holidays, and they’re all worthwhile. These range from the local—helping out Cumbria flood victims—to the global—a year of schooling for an African child, for example, or a project to clear cluster bombs from recent war zones, or bicycles for midwives in developing countries. All are worthy goals, and you get to send an attractive card (or e-card) on your behalf. And you can order on-line.

If you’re the kind of person who wants something a bit more tangible than a warm glow, you can head over to Farm Africa, someone I regularly support, and do some Christmas shopping there. You can do the usual—goats for farmers and chickens for families, or even beehives—and the unusual—buy some pesticide made from fermented cow urine. You can also do this through the Farm Friends site. And either you, or the person in whose name you are giving, gets a neat little packet full of information and—yes!—a cute little toy animal.

These are neat projects, because they help families help themselves. And they are truly international in scope. But we shouldn’t forget that just as there is want throughout the world, it can also be found close to home. Odds are where you live has a food pantry run by a local church or community organization. And odds are the demand has never been higher. What not give them a call to see what they might need? Spread a little cheer around.