Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#GivingTuesday gift guide

We Americans love to buy stuff. We love sales even more as evidenced by special offer shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. (I wonder what we'll make up next? Buyers Remorse Wednesday?) 

I think the best one of all is #GivingTuesday.

I don't know about you, but during the holidays I get wrapped up in my gift list. I spend a lot of time putting requests together, editing and re-editing my list, adding items for my children, for this friend and that relative, careful not to forget the teachers, the school secretaries and the mailman.

#GivingTuesday reminds me that the holidays are about spreading cheer and good will to people I will probably never get a chance to meet: the orphan in war-torn Syria, the West African doctor working on the front lines fighting Ebola, the single mom living in poverty in this country.

There are so many great causes out there:

> 1 in 3 women in America are living in or close to poverty. For the first 3,100 donations received on #GivingTuesday, World Vision and Thirty-One Gifts will match each donation with the gift of a tote filled with essential hygiene supplies including a toothbrush, soap, shampoo and a hairbrush for a US woman or girl in need.

> The Samaritan's Purse Christmas Catalog includes the gift of clean waterrefugee relief in places like Syria, Iraq and Sudan; support for our veterans; and even gifts like building a school or a house!

> Every year, Doctors Without Borders provides emergency medical care to millions of people in some 70 countries around the world. Some of their on-going work include life-saving surgery in war zones, fighting against maternal mortality in Burundi and Sierra Leone, and treating children suffering from tuberculosis in Tajikistan.

> Every year 170,000 children are born with cleft lip and/or palate. This congenital deformity makes it difficult to eat, breathe, speak properly and smile. Most families cannot afford surgery. Organizations like Smile Train and Operation Smile provide free cleft repair surgeries to those in need.

> Sponsorship through Compassion International means you can help provide regular medical check-ups, educational opportunities and spiritual support for a child in need.

> Empower a family by helping to bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Donate honeybees, a flock of chicks, rabbits or a goat through Heifer International.

> Unicef says 91% of every dollar you spend goes directly to assist children. Your donation could provide vaccines and insecticide-treated bed nets, emergency relief and School-in-a-Box kits.

Illustration from HelpInk.org