LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Some may see the value of an alternative gift as mostly symbolic, but for the families that partner with Heifer International, the value is real and tangible, from the steady supply of milk from their cow or goat to the fruits and vegetables on their tables to the higher income they earn by selling their excess crops and goods.
The feelings the giver and givee receive are more than symbolic, too. They feel a sense of purpose, of joy, of being part of something greater than them, of contributing to a lasting change. And alternative gifts given through Heifer International are lasting and life-changing.
Take Beatrice Biira, for example. As a young girl in Uganda, Beatrice dreamed of going to school, but education was a luxury in her village, where impoverished families struggled to grow enough food to survive. Then her mother received a goat from Heifer International, and several months later, by selling the extra goat's milk, her family could afford to pay her school fees, where she thrived.
Her education in Uganda led to a scholarship to attend schools and university in the United States. In May 2010, Beatrice was awarded her master's from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and today works to help others just like her. Try telling her the value of that goat was symbolic.
As noted by the CBS News magazine, 60 Minutes, "sometimes all it takes to save a child is a goat."
There is real value and purpose in alternative giving. It counters the myth that material possessions make us happy and demonstrates the love, generosity, compassion, celebration of life and joy that is the holiday season,
This year, put the meaning back into your gift giving and use your time and money more wisely. Give an alternative gift of a cow, a goat, whatever you wish, through Heifer International. Giver and recipient all benefit.
To learn more, visit www.heifer.org/catalog to view The Most Important Gift Catalog In The World and to read the many uplifting stories of those families who have been helped, or call 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437).
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 50 countries, including the U.S., to help families and communities become more self-reliant.
For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437.