Thank you, Supertramp. I still love that song.
With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s sometimes easy to forget that gift giving can be exactly what we want it to be, not what we feel it has to be. Giving to your local community or a program that helps the planet in some way, or crafting an experience for someone - these can all be life-changing for the giver as well as the recipient. Let's think outside the box. What if we gave a donation to a local organic farm, or donated our time to working on one on the other side of the planet? Or encouraged our kids to choose an organization to give to each holiday season, or each month of the year, as a new holiday tradition? Who would benefit more, the gifted or the giver?
I’ve rounded up a few organizations here that are about making the world a better place. Since this year has been about improving the way my family and I eat, each of these I've chosen do an excellent job of creating positive change around that theme. The theme of food also relates to issues of health, the environment, hunger, animals, and education - lots of opportunity to improve the world. I hope you will consider these as you make your gift-giving lists.
Farm to School focusses on benefiting communities, kids and farms by creating school gardens, bringing local fresh food into schools, and educating students about creating healthy eating habits. The website offers a variety of opportunities to get involved or donate. http://www.farmtoschool.org
I started paying attention to Farm Sanctuary after seeing films like Cowspiracy. Haven't seen it? Once you do, you'll understand why Farm Sanctuary is a great organization. The website provides an opportunity to donate as well as a Holiday Gift Guide and lots of ways to get involved. Meet Maybelle and Anna Stewart, piglets rescued by Tracey and Jon Stewart (oh how I miss seeing him on The Daily Show!). Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary and called "the conscience of the food movement" by Time magazine, now has a great book out with Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone, perfect for gift giving: Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. http://www.farmsanctuary.org
I am adding this to my bucket list: Volunteering on an organic farm in another country in exchange for stay and food. Sounds good to me! http://www.wwoof.net
This organization's mission is to provide safe water to the millions of people who struggle to have it. www.water.org
Geared toward kids, I love this site because it puts the power of change into young people's hands. They can choose to help tackle something they're passionate about, and the site helps work out the "how." Awesome. https://www.dosomething.org/us
Give a little bit. No matter how much is given, it makes a difference. Every bit.