The holiday season is known for its overwhelming generosity and spirit of giving which pervades homes in the run up to Christmas Day. But it’s not just during the holidays that disadvantaged people need help and support. Here are a few ways you can make giving a priority all through the year.
Education is the best way out of poverty, but millions of children in developing countries only attend school for a few years before leaving to start work and provide supplementary income for their family. You can help by sponsoring a student so they can attend school from Kindergarten to University. Your student will receive things like school enrollment fees, clothing and new shoes, backpacks and school supplies for the year, Bibles, transportation to school, and food. You can establish a lasting friendship with your student as they send you letters with their progress, knowing that you are helping them have a better future.
Buy Something, Give Something Away
Every time you are shopping for something new for yourself or your home, think how you can give to someone who may need the same. For example, if you need a new pair of shoes, think how you can donate a pair to someone in a developing country. If you need a new kitchen table, donate your old one to a thrift store that provides funds for educational programs overseas. If you’re upgrading your old computer or laptop, think how you can provide appropriate technology for the disadvantaged to succeed in school or work. When you make this a habit, the possibilities are endless for giving to those in need all through the year.
Fair Trade Gifts
Sometimes it seems as if a family member, friend, or co-worker’s birthday is around every corner, and ideas for unique and great birthday gifts don’t ever quite catch up! If you think Fair Trade when shopping, you’ll always have a one-of-a-kind gift, specific to the area from which it comes. You can shop all around the world for handwoven scarves, purses, towels, jewelry, home decor, baskets, and even unique wedding gifts, without stepping foot outside. In turn, you help alleviate poverty by ensuring producers are getting the money they deserve for the products they make. This creates opportunities to help bring them out of poverty, transform harsh working conditions and invest back into their families and communities to provide much needed health and education programs. And with fair trade you know natural materials and ethical farming methods are used, so you can give these gifts knowing you are not harming the environment.
So remember that giving in not just for Christmas but with a little thought you will be able to give to the less fortunate throughout the year.