This Holiday, Give a Heifer and Change a Life

By Adrienne Farr

Here’s a whole new twist on gift-giving and charitable donations. Instead of buying sweaters or jewelery this holiday season, give the gift of a goat, a pig, a “Knitter’s Basket” (which includes four fuzzy sheep), honeybees, a flock of chicks or a heifer to a deserving family.

Heifer International, a charitable organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty, was founded in 1944 by farmer Dan West after he graciously gave milk to hungry children. “These children don’t need a cup, they need a cow,” said Dan and soon after shipped 17 heifers from Pennsylvania to Puerto Rico. Dan’s thoughtfulness started small, but he’s gone on to change the lives of 65 million people.

Gifts start as low as $20 and go as high as $10,000. If you can’t foot the bill for an entire donation, sharing is an option. People like you and me can throw money in the pot until enough is collected for one gift. You can even request an “Honor Card” that can be sent to a friend or family member with a donation in their name. Your gift covers the cost of the animal and training of the families to properly care for it. A healthy animal will allow families to benefit directly, share with neighbors and sell milk, wool, honey, offspring, etc. until the whole community prospers.

When I first heard about Heifer International, I thought it was  a joke. So I called the organization to find out more. It just may have been the weirdest phone call ever: “How do I gift a goat?” “How can I share a heifer?” However, I am truly joyous knowing that my holiday gift will have real meaning this year.

(Photograph by amandabhslater via Wikimedia Commons.)