I start my Christmas wish list in July.
Why? Because that’s when I start working with Food for the Hungry’s (FH) staff around the world to determine the items in our gift catalog! The items in our gift catalog are specially chosen by FH staff in countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean based on the needs of people there… and always are part of FH’s long-term work with communities. After we receive a big list of items from all of FH’s countries, we narrow it down so we can share with you the most-requested items and those that will make the biggest impact for families in poverty. That list is ready for you now.
This year, here are five of FH’s top picks for gift catalog items you could share this holiday season. And some behind-the-scenes information about the impact of your gift!
Five Quick Picks
Sure, they’re cute! But beyond that, livestock, animals like goats, can have a major impact on the livelihoods of people living in rural areas. Goats can help produce food with their milk, enrich crops with their manure, and give extra chances for families to make a cash income by selling animal products. FH walks alongside farming families in countries like Kenya and Uganda to help them access agricultural information and improved farming technologies. As part of the livelihood strategy in these countries, families receive goats that they care for and breed — giving the new baby goats to other families in the community. This strengthens social bonds and improves livelihoods for all of the community’s families!
I am lucky enough to turn on a tap and immediately see clean water come out without even a pause. For more than 800 million families today, just accessing drinkable water is a struggle. Achieving universal, affordable, and sustainable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a key goal for international development organizations like FH. Until that goal is achieved, water filters are a good way to fill in the gap and make clean water a reality for families who otherwise would be vulnerable to waterborne illnesses and not be equipped to practice healthy hygiene.
Did you know that chickens can change lives? Much like a goat, chickens produce eggs and manure that families can sell for money. Or children can eat nutrient-rich eggs to improve their nutrition. In a pinch, the chicken itself could be sold to cover emergency expenses — it’s like a living savings account! Over time, families can grow their flocks to increase their incomes. This allows them to reach sustainable incomes as entrepreneurs! This is about so much more than just a chicken! It’s about helping farmers, especially female farmers. They are wives and moms. Now able to experience the dignity of using work to generate a meaningful income and support the whole family.
In parts of Africa where we work, many of the most vulnerable people make a living from agriculture. And yet this part of the world is also incredibly vulnerable to harsh climates and disasters. Imagine working hours every day to plant and tend a small plot of land…only to have everything die in a drought. Farmer training in these places is about more than just learning to till a garden. It’s about utilizing sustainable strategies particular to the environment and using the best resources available. The vegetable seeds that FH gives to farmers are the best types of seeds for the land and climate. When you give seeds, you help families prepare for their future by planting the best crops available.
In the words of Garrison Keillor, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” We know that very important learning comes in life outside of school. By giving these storybooks, children who do not have access to many books will read culturally-appropriate stories at home and in children’s clubs after school. Help children build imagination, vocabulary, and critical thinking with storybooks. In doing so, you will support the next generation of leaders!
Giving the Gift of Hope
Whatever you choose to give this season, we are thankful for your commitment to ending poverty. Whether you choose a goat, a chicken, a water filter, vegetable seeds, or storybooks, just know… You are helping make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable across the world. Celebrate this holiday season by giving the gift of hope!
Other blogs to choose the perfect gift:
11 New Items to Give in this Year’s Catalog
This Quiz Tells You Which Gift Catalog Item to Give
Gift Guide: 10 Ideas for the Woman Who Cares