(BPT) - What if you could give loved ones a present that makes a meaningful impact on the world? If you want to make a difference this year, consider giving gifts that help others in a direct, effective way. You and the gift recipient will know you’re making a difference in the lives of people who really need it.
Here are a few ways you can give a gift this year that truly makes someone’s life better:
Feed a family — and nourish a community
Several global charities have developed opportunities for Americans to make a dramatic impact on the lives of families throughout developing countries. For example, donors can direct contributions that pay for a farm animal to support a family or a clean water well installation to benefit an entire community.
A gift of a goat and two chickens provides a steady supply of eggs, milk and protein that can feed two or more struggling families. Your loved one will receive a card to tell them you're making this life-changing donation on their behalf.
A single dairy goat can provide up to 16 cups of milk per day, providing calcium, protein and other essential nutrients for growing children. Goats are well-suited for harsh climates and produce valuable fertilizer for crops and vegetable gardens. Chickens are easy to raise, and they naturally multiply to help feed generations of children. Each family who receives chickens gives back some hatched chicks to help other families in their community. This productivity can create a viable small-business opportunity for a single mother or struggling family to help add to their income.
Provide vital medical supplies
Numerous organizations also help struggling families in developing countries gain access to life-saving medicine, vitamins and nutritional support. Donating these types of gifts on behalf of a loved one who has struggled with his or her own health concerns can be an especially meaningful way to show you care.
A monthly or yearly donation to World Vision in the name of your loved one is a way to provide access to vital pharmaceuticals and medical supplies such as antibiotics, anti-fungals, anti-parasitic drugs, deworming medications, disposable syringes, gastrointestinal drugs, painkillers or surgical supplies to communities that desperately need them. Your gift will multiply five times in terms of its impact to help ship and distribute necessary medicine and supplies.
Support community artisans
If your loved one is passionate about artistic and beautiful things from around the world, you can support local artisans and craftspeople as well. Your support enables artisans to access “microloans" that help them fund their businesses. You can also directly purchase their hand-crafted items, which supports their business and enables you or your gift recipient to enjoy unique and beautiful works of art. Look for organizations that partner with fair trade organizations when you shop for international goods to maximize the impact of your gift.
Browse through World Vision's Catalog to see a wide variety of handcrafted gifts ranging from jewelry and housewares to decorative items. A portion of your purchase will be used to support specific, urgent needs for children, families or communities around the world, benefiting local artisans, along with the individual for whom you selected a gift.
A $75 or greater donation enables you to select a gift from the Opportunity Collection of home decor items, the Grace Collection of jewelry and accessories or the Hope Bracelet. These items were designed by actress Patricia Heaton. They were created by fair trade artisans in India in partnership with Gifts with a Cause, a fair-trade organization that provides a sustainable income to artists in developing countries. This business opportunity helps empower people to thrive, improving the lives of their families and communities. A donation expresses how much you care — and your gift will have an impact on making the lives of others better.