I have an idea…

Keep in mind it is just an idea, but I keep asking myself what if, so I had to share with all of you.

Over the past few years in addition to being home with kids, I have been using my time to research and connect with various charitable organizations both locally, nationally and internationally. Stepping out into the adoption arena helped us to see things we never imagined we would see in terms need and the chilling circumstances that many children face daily throughout the world. My first hand account of poverty at it’s best has propelled me even further into research and tangible ways to give back and help others.

Today is December 5th and we here in the United States are in full Christmas buying mode. The Christmas bling (as I like to call it) is everywhere and we cannot turn a corner or even enter a grocery store without thinking of all the stuff we might need to make our holidays just a wee bit brighter for ourselves and certainly for our children who all have the Christmas “wants.” We scramble to take care of so many on our list who have helped us throughout the year, the favorite bus driver, the school secretary, the teachers, the neighbors, the business clients. I do the same people so I am totally in the know here. 🙂 Most of us have good intentions and generous hearts filled with the Christmas spirit.

Enter my idea… What if the gifts we gave mattered more? What could be accomplished if we took our lists and matched each name with a gift from an organization that is doing more and giving more in the world.

Perhaps your children would love to sponsor a child for a year or more. What an awesome gift and through several organizations it is easy to communicate with your sponsored child and see exactly what you are doing to change their lives through education and nourishment:

Compassion International

Wiphan Care

Children’s Hopechest

Here is a list of organizations I love for tangible gift giving. You can change lives through the purchase of an animal or soccer balls for a village. Think what the purchase of bibles might do to change a life…

Purchase your gift in the name of someone you love or wish to thank this year.

World Vision

Samaritians Purse This organization is a Strobel favorite. For years we have packed up shoeboxes as a family in hopes that a child somewhere in the world would receive something special and the knowledge that Christ knows he or she by name. You can purchase mosquito nets for remote areas where people die from malaria. Such a lifesaving gift will have true meaning this Christmas.

Heifer International Why not give a gift that could benefit a family or perhaps an entire community!

Soles for Souls See what a big time corporate executive turned philanthropist is doing with shoes. He is helping to save lives one pair at a time and recycling shoes to be donated all around the world and across the US. What if we donated new or gently used shoes in someone’s name. Now that is a very unique and heartfelt gift!

FashionABLE Scarves These scarves help to provide and sustain business opportunities to women in Ethiopia. The scarves are absolutely gorgeous and a great price point!

Lifesong This organization has a rockin gift catalogue. You can purchase a brick in the name of someone to help build a classroom in Zambia. Your donation might help a child from the Ukraine

attend a bible camp. Think about how one gift might change a life!

Women at Risk If you live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area there is a place you have to consider visiting for gifts. I am talking stunning gifts with amazing purpose!  The woman who started the organization is the most spirited soul. She has dedicated her life to this cause after growing up in Bangladesh and witnessing first hand what happens to young girls and women all around the world and right here in our own city. Please visit the website or the store if you are here in GR.  Even if you are not compelled to purchase a gift you will learn so much.

I am excited to purchase my gifts a bit more carefully this year after seeing firsthand the poverty that still haunts me. We all love to give and to receive and with all the many gifts we purchase to celebrate the most memorable day of the year, I have had it on my heart to encourage us all to be a bit smarter in the gifting we do! We can all make a difference in raising up a woman living in poverty or providing shoes to a village child or sending love and monthly prayers to an orphan with nobody to wake up to and call his or her own on the blessed day of Christmas.

Peace and Love to you and yours.