What was once a relatively novel idea seems to have caught on this Christmas.
People are giving goats as Christmas presents!
The Samaritan's Purse has a suggested gifts catalogue that includes dairy animals, livestock, chickens and more. World Vision's Internet homepage has Alpacas and Pigs as suggested gifts.
I'm not quite sure when this type of "alternative" Christmas gift giving started, perhaps someone will inform me but I just think it's a grand idea.
For years, many families, extended communities and employers have tried to take the opportunity of gift-giving and Christmas to really bless those in need. I remember years ago at my first job, someone suggested that we change our office Christmas gift exchange to something that would be more beneficial to families in inner-city Detroit. Over the years, I've witnessed many families that very intentionally take their children out shopping for gifts and toys for others in order to encourage a spirit of giving in their children as well as help others.
The work that many organizations (I mentioned only two that are well known and also ECFA members, but there are hundreds that are doing similar work) are doing in places like Africa, the Middle East and around the world, is truly life changing. These nonprofits have found that providing animals to rural people so they have essential products like milk and eggs – not only helps improve nutrition, but the animals become an economic engine as the dairy products are also sold to provide a primary source of the family’s income.
The better charities also know that it takes a larger investment to really provide assistance. For example, it may cost only $30to buy and vaccinate one animal. However more funds are needed to cover the cost of teaching a farmer how to raise healthy and productive animals.
I've seen a few articles and posts that have been against giving animals to families in Africa. One blogger suggested buying stock in any multi-national company as they do much to improve the lifestyles of the people as they provide economic opportunities. Also, there were a number of negative articles coming from Great Britain. Seems like the charities in England are stuck in some eco-catch22 as livestock consume scarce resources including water and animals foraging for edible vegetable material could even be a further cause of global warming.
Seems like some would like to take all of the joy out of giving.