We all know one of those people that are impossible to buy gifts for because they buy what they want, when they want it. You have the option of giving them a gift that they may or may not want, buying them a gift card that they may or may not use, or giving them an alternative gift. An alternative gift is one that benefits the less fortunate and honors the receiver. Here are some ideas for alternative gifts.
- Food and Shelter for Americans. AGI (Alternative Gifts International) collects donations to make it possible to award grants to food pantries and homeless shelters for people right here in America. It costs $45 to feed a family of 5 for one week. It costs $5 to feed one person for a day. Over 5 million households received food from a food pantry in 2010.
- Pregnant goat for people in Haiti. Most families in rural Haiti live on $2 a day. Many of the residents are suffering from malnutrition because they are not consuming enough protein in their diet. One way that organizations have found they can help the Haitians is by teaching them to raise goats. By giving the gift of a pregnant goat to a family, you could be turning their life around forever. A pregnant goat costs $110 to give to a family.
- Books for Nicaragua. More than 2 million children attend schools in Nicaragua that are so poor they have no books to teach the kids. TFL (Trees for Life) is providing books at a deep discount. Donate 5 books for a school or library for $30 or 1 book for $6.
- Rescue a girl from sex slavery. Women and children in SE Asia and India are considered property to be bought and sold. IJM (International Justice Mission) works to find these victims and help them. $72 pays for an IJM lawyer to defend these girls in court to try to gain their release. $44 will pay for 1 day of aftercare for a girl that has been saved.
- Save moms and babies. CRS (Catholic Relief Services) has come up with a way to load lifesaving prenatal information onto mobile phones so that they could train expectant mothers. The new mothers can send a text to the healthcare team once the baby is born so that a healthcare worker can visit soon after the child is born. A preloaded phone is $88. For pre-natal and post-partum healthcare visits it would cost only $33.
- Educate a girl. For only $30 you can send an orphan to school. Getting an education will radically improve the future for these children. For less than many spend on lunch during the month you can educate a child and change her life forever. Make your donation through Save the Children.
- Give a sheep to help a family out of poverty. A sheep will supply wool for warmth, milk to drink, and fertilizer to improve the daily life of a poor family. Any extra products can be sold at the market to further help out the family. You will get a holiday card indicating the gift you gave in the name of someone else. All of this for only $50.
- Adopt a sea turtle. Defenders of Wildlife lobby to protect wildlife by protecting the nesting area of sea turtles, to educate surrounding homeowners, and to defend international laws that are being violated. For $45 you will receive a large plush toy representing the sea turtle that you have adopted, a personalized certificate, a photo and a fact sheet. For $25 you can get a small plush toy, certificate, photo and fact sheet. For $15 you just get the certificate, photo and fact sheet. Defenders offer many other types of wild animal adoptions.
- Give a flock of chicks. Heifer International helps all over the world. You can buy a flock of chicks for $20. One chicken can lay 200 eggs in a year, which provides a lot of protein and nutrition for starving children. Any extra eggs can be shared or sold to help buy other necessities. Any offspring are to be given to another family in the community along with the training on how to care for them. Chickens are easy to care for and help a family survive.
- Give food to a local food shelter. Print up your own card and include the receipt where you donated food to a local food pantry in honor of someone else. This gift will benefit people who truly need help.
Christmas is all about giving, and if you have someone that doesn’t really want nor need anything, you can give to a charity in their name instead. You will feel good and so will they because you have helped someone less fortunate.