Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Passing on the Gift

I’ve written earlier about how my husband and I know we are wealthy: we spend less than we make and we try to be good stewards of our resources. We are grateful for our good fortune and we're happy to share it with others.

Physician-philosopher-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer once said, “The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

Last month I promised to write about my favorite charity for the March blog carnival at APLS (Affluent People Living Sustainably). I had forgotten about this commitment until last week when I gathered up our tax documents, which include records of our charitable donations – most notably to my favorite organization, Heifer International.

Heifer mainly assists communities across the globe through training and gifts of livestock. A family will be given a goat or a cow, for example, and the support they need to raise the animal successfully.

The animal provides milk that benefits the family’s diet directly and is also sold at market for other goods and services. The money made from the sales often makes it possible for the children to get schooling that would otherwise be too costly.

Another unique aspect of Heifer International is "passing on the gift," which is a great approach to ending poverty and establishing sustainability for many generations. Everyone who receives a gift from Heifer – be it a cow or a goat, a hive of bees, tree saplings or veterinary skills – signs a contract, agreeing to pass on what they have been given, like their animals' offspring, to someone else in need.

Heifer reports that their families expand their service beyond the three years Heifer works with them. The communities often establish micro-credit, dairy and grain cooperatives, make sure every child is educated, bring women into leadership roles, establish partnerships, and continuously find ways to insure prosperity.

In the thank you letter I receive from Heifer for my donation, they write, “Every gift you give helps create permanent solutions to poverty and hunger for children and families around the world.” That says it all.

If you’d like to find out more and donate, please go to Heifer International's website.

1 comment:

Steph @ Greening Families said...

I'm with you in loving and supporting Heifer International!