Whether Christmas at your house is an all-out gala or a quiet, homespun affair, it probably involves gifts. Some people are easy to buy for. You’re always seeing things that remind you of them, and you’ve probably had their presents stashed away since August. But if you’re like me, there are a few problem people on your list who stump you year after year. This year, I’m shopping a little differently. Medical Teams International’s gift catalog allows me to purchase gifts for people in the developing world in the name of my family and friends. So when Grandpa opens his stocking on Christmas morning, he’ll find that a malaria pack, filled with enough lifesaving medicines and bed nets for five people, was given to a family in Africa in his name. Who knew you could buy heroism? Besides, I’m sure Grandpa would rather get this in his stocking than yet another dumb trinket he has no idea what to do with. In fact, these are great ideas for stocking stuffers or gifts for the whole family.
I recently went to Guatemala with Medical Teams International, and I was amazed by the wonderful staff they have working there. They were professional, compassionate, and effective. The people in the villages have a deep respect for them. I learned something very important on this trip: a small donation TRULY will save a life, change a life, and bring encouragement. For example, just a few dollars could buy seeds for MTI to teach farmers to grow more vegetables, thus taking charge of the huge malnutrition problem. Plus MTI has ridiculously low overhead costs, which means almost all of your donation will go directly to help people in need. At the end of my project, I left feeling encouraged by MTI’s plan of attack to bring health and prosperity to the villages.
Here are some other options from the catalog:
For $10, you can protect a newborn child from disease and death by providing his mother with the following basic, lifesaving items for use in childbirth: a plastic sheet, razor blade, soap, latex gloves, sterile cotton pads, and some thread.
For $21.30, you can prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS to ten infant children. Your gift provides medicine and education that helps mothers stop the transmission of this terrible disease at childbirth.
For $92.85, you can improve the health of a family of five living on less than $1 a day by giving them clean water, better sanitation, cement floors, home gardens, and training to stop malnutrition.
For $98, you can train emergency volunteers to save lives in 12 poverty-stricken nations where emergencies and traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death.
If Christmas is about celebrating what we’ve been given and giving to others in return, what better way is there to express the spirit of the holiday than to give to those who are truly in need? This gift catalog is an opportunity to save lives while demonstrating what Christmas is all about. How nice to get your kids thinking globally on Christmas rather than obsessing over what’s for them under the tree.