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Well, why not?  There are places in this world where a pig is worth its weight in gold.  And if you don't want to give a pig, give a goat, or a camel, or some chicks . . .

My mother died in 2007 of pancreatic cancer.  One of her favorite charities was Heifer International and since her death, instead of giving Christmas gifts of stuff that no one really needs, we have made donations to Heifer in the names of our friends and family.

Here is Heifer's website.

Heifer works around the world.  The idea is simple:  Give a man a fish, he can eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish, he can eat for the rest of his life.

Through Heifer, you purchase a flock of chickens, or a flock of ducks, or a pig, or a water buffalo, or a camel, or seed, or . . . you get the picture.  Here are quotes from the Heifer website describing their work:

We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps brings sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.

When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

. . .

The core of our model is Passing on the Gift. This means families share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.

In addition to animals, you can:
-- send a girl to school
-- train women to start a small business
-- drill a well
-- give cook stoves
-- give seed suitable for the area
-- and on and on and on.

Go to the Heifer website, browse around, you're certain to find the perfect last-minute gift.  When you give the gift, you can then send a card announcing your gift . . . Heifer will snail-mail or email that card, or, you can download a PDF, print the card (in color if you have a color printer), and present it in person.

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