As Christmas 2012 was approaching I decided to purchase a $500 Nikon camera for my personal enjoyment and use. During that same period of time I received a letter from Heifer International asking that I make a donation to provide a farm animal to a needy family somewhere in the world. It just so happened that a donation of $500 would provide a needy family with a heifer (cow).
I found myself caught in a dilemma - "The Camera vs. The Cow."
I went to the camera shop to purchase the camera and while speaking with the salesperson I kept thinking about the cow. I left without making the purchase. Several days later I went back to the camera shop, spoke to another salesperson, and had a similar experience.
That week I was attending a Newman Nights meeting with my church group and asked for their help in solving my dilemma of "The Camera vs. The Cow." The group suggested that I purchase the camera since owning the new camera appeared to be so important to me. I went back to the camera shop the next day to purchase the camera, spoke to yet another salesperson and the same thing happened. I could not stop thinking about the cow and left without making a purchase.
I felt strange that I could not make a decision and decided to turn to prayer for some additional help.
The answer to my prayer came by way of matching the cost of the camera by making a donation of the cost of a heifer. I then went online and made a donation of $500 to Heifer International for the puchase of one heifer. The next day I went back to the camera shop and spoke to the fourth salesperson, and not only purchased the $500 camera but another very small Nikon camera that was on sale for $100. After adding the cost of the required memory card, an extra battery, two lenses and a small camera bag I was nearing a $1,500 total. That meant that I needed to donate the cost of two more heifers ($1,000) in order to match my camera purchases.
Well, I was stretching my Christmas budget to the very limit if I made a donation to cover the cost of two Heifers, but three Heifers were out of the question. Fortunately for me, Heifer International sent me an email letting me know that a generous donor was willing to match any donations up to $200,000. This allowed the make my donation of another $500 for my second heifer and having that donation matched for a total of three heifers. Needless to say I was greatly relieved and appreciative of the generous donor's matching funds.
This whole process of struggling with "The Camera vs. The Cow" dilemma has taught me a very good lesson. If we as individuals are to follow our belief that we must "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us," then we must strike a balance between serving our personal desires and needs and meeting the needs of so many others in this world who depend on our help in their times of need.
Thanks Heifer International for letting me tell my story!
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
Welcome to the Heifer family. Donors, volunteers, recipients and our teams around the world share a common goal: To end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. It’s a lofty goal, but we know it's achievable. Together we are the family that can create this change.
Together we can make cows fly
See stories of how lives are being transformed around the globe through Heifer's work in more than 40 countries.
Heifer is hosting events across the country as part of our "Beyond Hunger: Communities of Change" series. You can see the calendar of events and register for them online. Join us in celebrating Heifer's legacy of creating social change.
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Mike Agranoff and Dan Pelletier will be live in concert at an event benefitting Heifer International.
In August, members of the Sacramento Heifer Community Volunteer group traveled to Ecuador to increase their understanding of Heifer's work.
Heifer hero and science teacher at Nipomo High School, Mr. Paradis, won the right to kiss a pig at a recent Nipomo High School fundraiser.
The Joyful Noise! Gospel Singers have once again generously offered their talent to raise funds for Heifer International.
Passing on the gift is far more than a handy catchphrase for Heifer International. It represents the success of a family moving from recipient to donor, hope for a family to gain a sustainable livelihood, and continuation of the circle to lift families from hunger and poverty.
On the final day of 2013, members of the Improving Livelihoods in the Poorest District of Soc Trang Province project’s self-help group #1 warmly welcomed the Gluckman family to Phu Tam commune, Chau Thanh district. The married couple and their two children were vacationing in Vietnam and wanted to visit a Heifer project. They have been donating to Heifer International for 20 years.
The Jewish Community Foundation of the West's Teen Philanthropy Class in Sacramento, California awarded their first grant to Heifer International in November 2013.
A few months ago, Sara Rising of Kingwood First Presbyterian Church in Humble, TX had an idea to get the church members to work together in order to support Heifer International. When she had the thought, no one knew how big it would get!
Several years ago, we, and several members of our family, decided we didn't need any more gifts to ourselves since we had plenty already. We decided the best thing to do was to give to Heifer International, which is what we now do every year.
In November 2012, the Chemrouen Cheat Khmer (CCK) organization and Heifer Cambodia started the "Improving Income and Nutrition through Community Empowerment” (INCOME) project in our village. Our family decided to join the self-help group in late 2012 and things began to change.
Heifer has an established history of fighting hunger and poverty, but it doesn't end there. We are enacting social change, caring for the earth and ensuring a gift of hope that lasts for generations.
This Thanksgiving, I brought my family on board to Heifer International by giving a gift in their names. Each of the 24 family members was given a picture from the catalog of the animal he/she gave.
I love to ride my bicycle. In April 2012, I was involved in a serious crash in a bicycle race. It was a long recovery, but I am extremely thankful to be doing so well. To express my gratitude, I have a special project for 2013 called "A Year of Centuries". I am riding one century (100 miles in a single bicycle ride) each month. Each century highlights a charitable organization that is particularly meaningful to me. As a longtime supporter, I am so pleased to be riding on behalf of Heifer International for December.
What do you give someone who is 94 years old, has lived a very full life, downsized her home of 51 years and moved to a small, assisted-living apartment? And since that someone, as in my mother's case, is an individual who has spent much of her life giving to others, the gift of a goat from Heifer International would be perfectly appropriate! I am well known in my family for coming up with poems for special occasions, so of course it was expected that I would write one to accompany this gift.
On Sunday November 17th, Linda McBee and I had the pleasure of going to Fort Bragg to present the pastor, Dan Fowler, and his congregation, with an Ark Plaque for their generous donation of $8,000 for a goat project in Nduma near Nairobi Africa. We were warmly welcomed by the church members and were each given a gift of a jar of ingredients to make a winter bean soup.
The Xi Kappa Omega Chapter, of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, recently partnered with Heifer International for a reading of the children’s book Beatrice’s Goat in Oxnard, California. Beatrice’s Goat is based on Beatrice Biira’s real life story of how her life changed after her family received the gift of a goat from Heifer International.
Cows are so awesome. And we’re not just saying that because we are called Heifer International. Here, we’ve long held the idea that animals, as just one of the things that Heifer provides to families, should always provide “7 M’s” so that they’re truly transformative for those we support. Heifer developed the idea of 7 M’s many years ago to help more simply explain how an animal can be a catalyst for so much change. It sounds sort of weird, but it works, and has for nearly 70 years.
Paula and Camila Rojas just moved to South Africa from Colombia. Although they’re still getting a feel for the South African environment and change in curriculum, the sisters embarked on their own campaign to raise awareness and funds for Heifer South Africa after they heard about Heifer through the Read to Feed program at their school.
Regine Ndjiwo, 55, and Justine Passo, 50, are members of Heifer projects in the western region of Cameroon, a little over nine miles from Heifer’s office in Bamenda. They are part of GIC APEB (Groupe d’Initiative Commune d’Apiculture et Eleveurs de Bamepah) created in Bamepah Village.
Our Christian Education students of Saint Ann's Episcopal Church of Sayville, NY hosted our first Outreach Mission Project. After several weeks of discussing Heifer International in Sunday school, the younger students choose its animal of choice, a Llama, as its goal purchase.
In 2011, my friend Julie and I had a year full of grief, frustration, and unwelcome drama. It was one emotional disaster after another. At the end of that year, we decided to change our focus to helping others. We committed to raise $5000 to "build an ark" for Heifer International to provide livestock and training for struggling families worldwide.
My name is Zhenya. I am from the Kirants community of Armenia. I am 14. I attend the Heifer youth club in our village. In 2012, I developed a business plan that was approved by Heifer Armenia, and I received a small youth grant to realize my business plan. Heifer gave me 40,000 Armenian drams (about $100) as a youth business start-up.
I remember the first time I heard of Heifer International. I was sitting in a Peace Corps van, driving through the streets of Thies, the second largest city in Senegal. Two of my fellow volunteers started excitedly chattering as we passed a sign. They slapped on the window and shrieked at each other. I didn’t really understand the excitement, but I noted the sign, a cow jumping over the word “Heifer”. At the moment, it didn’t mean much to me, but looking back on that moment, it was the start to something amazing.
Meet Stanislaw Debert; at the end of 1945, Mr. Debert was the recipient of one of the 150 heifers sent by the Heifer Project to Poland on the SS Santiago Iglesias. In early October, I had the good fortune to sit and talk with him, his wife, and a daughter in their home near Gdansk about what that heifer meant to them. At the end of World War II when Europe was seething with displaced persons, Mr. Debert arrived in the area of Gdansk. He fled from Kielce on the roof of a train car with only the clothes he was wearing...