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Heifer International’s holiday catalog, The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World, (online at www.heifer.org) offers shoppers a unique way to make the holidays more meaningful by buying cows and goats, sheep and llamas, even a water buffalo or bees and trees, as alternative gifts that honor friends and family while helping malnourished people escape chronic hunger to become more self-reliant.
Donations range from $10 for a share of a cow to $500 for a whole dairy cow for a needy family. A $5,000 “Gift Ark” of animals is a way for a business, congregation or civic organization to supply a host of animals where they’re needed. And village and regional project sponsorships in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the United States are available for $10,000 and up. All contribute to Heifer’s worldwide impact.
Because of the public’s response to the catalog, Heifer’s work has affected more than 62 million people since it was started in 1944 when a former relief worker suggested that giving impoverished people cows that produce milk for food and income, unlike handouts of food relief, would be a better solution to the problem of hunger.
Being farmers, they decided that a “bred heifer”—a pregnant young cow—which would bear a calf soon after arriving and immediately begin giving milk, would be the perfect gift. Then the calf can be given to another family in Heifer’s now-signature practice of “Passing on the Gift,” multiplying the impact of the original gift and spreading the benefits to entire communities.
This simple but effective development tool has helped millions of families in more than 125 countries, including the U.S., where more than 10 million people are chronically hungry. Yet there is no shortage of demand for Heifer’s services. Around the world, a billion people are often hungry.
Today, Heifer provides locally grown animals that combine resistance to local diseases with high farm productivity. With training, recipients learn to care for their animals to maximize farm production—using zero-grazing enclosures to control the animals’ diets and capture the manure they produce for organic fertilizer to improve crops for better balanced diets.
Income from sales of farm products provide many benefits—better housing, health care, and education for children, bringing hope for a brighter future. As the gifts multiply and partners learn from each other, the community is strengthened, bringing new economic opportunity and fostering a sense of shared pride and dignity.
With every $10 gift, donors are entitled to receive a unique, informative greeting card to send to friends or family informing them that a gift has been made in their honor to help end hunger through Heifer International. The card explains how each animal can change the lives of hungry people. Purchases can be made online at www.heifer.org, or by mail using the pre-addressed envelope stapled into the catalog.
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.
For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918.