What gift would you like to give this Christmas? What could you offer that would be truly memorable and might make things a little better for another creature?
Here are a few things that I do every holiday season. These are truly gifts that warm your heart and will truly change lives. Let's start with Oxfam.
OXFAM has some terrific projects that help hungry families by training them to sustainably grow food, helping women to start a savings group, and helping to create a community garden. http://www.oxfamamerica.org/donate/right-now-help-change-lives/?gclid=CPmo-O_BwcICFTFp7AodqhQA-A
PETA DOGHOUSE PROJECT.
PETA has a "Be an Angel for a cold, lonely dog this winter" program and provides doghouses to dogs that are desperately in need of shelter. These poor dogs are forced to live outside in all kinds of freezing weather, 365 days a year. The happy dog above has just received his doghouse.
The volunteers not only build the doghouses and deliver them to families, but they replace heavy chains with light leads, so the dogs have a little room to roam. And they transport the dogs for veterinary care to get needed shots, flea medicine, etc. Most important of all, they check back on these neglected dogs to see how they are doing. In many cases, the owners eventually relinquish these "outdoor" dogs who have never known affection (except at the hands of a PETA Volunteer.)
For those who want to make a difference close to home, did you know that animal shelters are in desperate need of freshly laundered, sheets, towels and throws? I save them all year round and I also buy "fleeces" when they're on sale and drop them off at a local animal shelter. Anything you donate means one less thing for the shelter to buy.
Another wonderful gift is to bring a couple of hot casseroles to a local soup kitchen. (call first to see if this is permitted.) It's also helpful to bring a couple dozen Styrofoam cups, plastic spoons and napkins. Many people at the soup kitchen prefer to take their meal home with them. Mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna are favorites.
Toys for Tots is another wonderful holiday idea. Tonight I'm going to an annual Christmas party hosted by Governor Tom Carper and Mrs. Carper-- each guest brings a gift for a child. What a wonderful idea!
These are just a few of the things I do every holiday and I try to incorporate them into my gift giving during the year. After all, gift-giving shouldn't be limited to the holidays. Look around in your own community and you will see many opportunities to give and to make a difference.
Have a happy Holiday, everyone!