December 14, 2011
The Perfect Christmas
Gift: A Goat for the Poor
By Mike McManus
You won’t find the perfect Christmas gift in the mall, but in a
“World Vision Gift Catalogue” (www.worldvisiongifts.org).
“Celebrate the true Spirit of Christmas: Share
real hope and healing with God’s children everywhere,” it proclaims
Consider giving a goat that would nourish a family with milk,
cheese and yogurt plus a surplus that could be sold in the market so the
family could earn money for necessities. A goat produces fertilizer that can
be used to increase the amount of vegetables a family might grow in a
garden. Cost: only $75.
“My very own goat saved my family from hunger,” wrote Thabani,
11, a fatherless boy in Zimbabwe.
Is $75 more than you can afford? How about giving 2 chickens
and “Umpteen eggs,” to a poor child in Asia or Africa for only $25? Fresh
eggs mean protein for the family plus the option of selling of extra eggs.
Stuff a card in a child’s stocking indicating that you have given chickens
in their name to hungry children in a poor nation.
Or consider this: give your adult child a card that you have
given a stocked fish pond to a village in their name that will feed an
entire community. Cost: just $200 that will include digging the pond and
adding fast-growing fish like tilapia.
There are many other options. If you give a sow to a family, it
will produce as many as 20 piglets a year. Within six months, each pig will
weigh 200 pounds, fetching a hefty price at the market. The income can be
used for children’s education, medicine and food.
“I nearly collapsed with joy,” wrote Victoria, a widowed mother,
when she learned she was receiving a cow from a World Vision donor. “I saw
it as God’s abundant grace on my life,” and that of her six children. With
good reason. One cow yields up to 5,000 gallons of milk during its
lifetime, or 120,000 glasses of milk.
A cow costs $500, but one can buy a share of a cow for $50.
Last year 150,000 World Vision donors gave 850,000 recipients
gifts like these that cost $34 million. What’s encouraging is that giving
is up this year, despite the recession. “Perhaps the recession has made us
more in tune with the needs of others,” says spokesman John Yaeger.
Last year more than 80,000 goats were purchased by donors, and
182,000 chickens! There are more than 40 gifts for $25 or less.
Personalized cards are included with every gift, allowing the donor to
notify the gift recipient. If you would like to give a truly meaningful
gift, go to the online catalogue. That’s how more than half the gifts are
Some are particularly creative: an $85 bike that can protect a
girl and help her get an education. (Many girls drop out rather than risk a
long walk to school, where they can be assaulted.) A sewing machine for
$270 will lift a woman out of poverty.
World Vision’s primary work is to provide hope and assistance to
100 million people in nearly 100 countries. Many of the Christian
ministry’s 1 million donors, give $35 a month to secure the future of
children and families.
“Food for the Hungry” has a similar Christmas ministry whose
catalog you can explore at
For example, how about a pair of Guinea Pigs for only $15? They require
little space and reproduce quickly, providing many meals. The gift includes
feed for the first six weeks.
Or two rabbits for only $16 which can be the foundation for a
prosperous family business. There’s a need for 700 rabbits in Bolivia.
Cherry Hills Christian Middle School was congratulated for
raising an “astounding $3,900” which they used to select more than 300
For example, such kids could buy a
high-producing Rwandan hybrid cow for only $585 which produces twice as much
milk as a regular cow. Each family who gets a cow agrees to give one of
their offspring to another needy family. A great way to assist families,
who are struggling to survive in a land recovering from genocide and AIDS.
Or consider a $100 gift that provides a “Vet
Kit” that helps a person care for up to 20 animals a day. The kit includes
antibiotics, vaccines, syringes and other medicines.
It’s hard to imagine a more meaningful