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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gifts That Give Back

Every year during the winter holidays, the Husband and I try to find ways to give back to our local area and the global community at large. Since we adopted our Tongginator from China, we strive to focus our giving on orphan and foster care, family preservation, China-specific charities and those that work to end human trafficking. Taking my cues from Grown In My Heart and Kristen of Rage Against the Minivan, this year I thought I'd share a list of organizations that support causes near and dear to my heart.

Getting The Kids Involved:

Angel Tree -- Every year we collect a couple of angels off of our church's angel tree. This program, sponsored by Prison Fellowship, seeks to reconcile prisoners and their families to God and to one another through the delivery of Christmas presents and the Gospel message.

Knit-a-Square -- Make and donate an 8x8 inch square to help warm an orphan diagnosed with AIDS.

Operation Christmas Child -- Pack a shoebox filled with small gifts and drop it off at select location after labeling it with an EZ label so that you can track where it goes in the world.

The Pajama Program
-- Purchases pajamas for children in the US foster care system, so that they don't have to wear their clothes while sleeping.

Organizations That are China-Specific:

All Girls Allowed -- I'm very interested in learning about this new charity, which is still in the process of applying for non-profit status. It seeks to restore life, value and dignity to girls and mothers living in China, and to reveal the injustice of the country's population control policies.

Altrusa -- Works directly with Chinese orphanages, mostly in Jiangxi Province, by providing formula and foster care sponsorships, as well as organizing the "Hugging Grannies" program.

Bethel -- Bethel is the first and so far only organization dedicated to helping the blind and orphan population within China.

Half the Sky -- This organization is dedicated to bringing love and concern of family to thousands of children in China who have lost theirs. They sponsor foster care, provide child development training to caregivers in China and grant educational scholarships to orphans.

Heifer International -- Provide a family living in a second or third world nation with the gift of training and animals so that they might become self-sufficient. (Our family's favorite is the gift of ducks for families living in China.) If you donate before December 4th, Heifer International will send your loved one an "honor card" announcing the gift you made in their honor.

Love Without Boundaries
-- Helps to provide medical care, foster care, education and other humanitarian needs to orphans living in China. If you make a donation to LWB's education program in honor of your child's teacher, he or she will receive a donation announcement card that reads "Inside every child is the potential to impact the world."

The New Day Foster Home -- Provides life-saving surgeries and a loving home to orphans with special needs from around China.

An Orphan's Wish -- This organization is dedicated to the care of children with special needs living in Chinese orphanages and foster care, most specifically, but not limited to, those with cerebral palsy and club foot.

Pearl River Outreach -- Provides specialized medical training in many areas of infant and child growth and development.

SOS Children's Villages in China
-- Provides home-based orphan care (up to 12 children in each home) to over 1,000 orphans at ten SOS villages within various Chinese cities.

Starfish Foster Homes -- Sponsors surgeries, provides post-operative care and foster care for children living in Chinese orphanages who desperately need urgent medical care.

Organizations Focusing on Family Preservation:

All Girls Allowed -- Listed above, I wanted to highlight this organization's Baby Shower Gift Program, which provides a small financial gift and support for up to one year of a vulnerable family that gives birth to a girl and chooses to raise her rather than abort or abandon her.

The Apparent Project -- Working to support Haitian families in crisis in order to prevent child abandonment due to extreme poverty.

Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network -- Helps to advocate for and protect the rights of single mothers and their children within South Korea throughout their pregnancies and beyond.

The Mercy House -- A relatively new organization that plans to open a guarded six-bed maternity house in Kenya for women facing crisis pregnancies. Job training and micro-loans will be part of the program.

Riverkids Project -- This organization strives to prevent child trafficking in Cambodia by working directly with families that are at high risk for trafficking, offering educational opportunities, respite care, medical and social visits near various slums within Cambodia.

Organizations Striving to Help Survivors of Human Trafficking:

The Blind Project -- Serves organizations who are rescuing and providing rehabilitation to sex trafficked victims and survivors by providing eye exams and glasses.

iSanctuary -- Works to ensure that the teenage girls it serves have access to proper mental, emotional, and spiritual counseling as well as medical treatment.

The Somaly Mam Foundation -- The foundation supports survivor rescue, shelter and rehabilitation programs globally, with a special focus on Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and girls, some as young as five, is a widespread practice.

Do y'all have any favorite charities that you'd love to give a shout out to?


Aus said...

All good stuff there TM - we're giving tree folks as well - there are several we participate in. We make a deal of it taking the kids shopping and letting them pick and choose - can't start them caring too young!

hugs - aus and co.

Mia_h_n said...

I don't have any links to give back (but I swear I'm a good person! ;), but I'm definitely going to check some of yours out. Thanks for the hints :)

Joan said...

Wow, that is an amazing list of links, thanks!

Tonggu Grammy said...

One of my new favorites is Living Water International. I don't know how to link it here but you can google it. This organization makes an effort to provide safe, drinkable water to those around the world in the name of Jesus. You can go to their site and purchase gift cards of varying amounts so that the recipient can go online and pick a specific project somewhere in the world. I'm doing this for each of my grandchildren and we will all go online together to complete the process. They may decide to pool their money OR may pick a site that just sounds interesting to them. TM, don't tell the Tongginator!

Patricia/NYC said...

FABULOUS resources, TM!! We do the Angel Tree at our church & I just love that project!

This post gave me LOTS of new ideas too! Wonderful!!

Can I link up to any of these on my blog?
Thanks, my friend, & I hope you are feeling better these days!!

Wendy said...

My husband and I long ago stopped giving each other gifts. Instead, we donate cleft palate surgeries for one child in Thailand and one in the Philippines (our daughter's birth countries) through Smile Train each Christmas.

We also sponsor children in our girls' homelands. That's an adoption anniversary thing we do each year, but it would be a great idea for Christmas as well.

Love all these great resources, TM!

Rebekah said...

Great list! Thanks for all the ideas!

S.Wise said...

Thank you for this wonderful list! I've been reading about All Girls Allowed this morning and am enthralled!

Kristi said...

So glad that you published this list. My readership is so much smaller, but I've been thinking about doing a similar post myself. Wouldn't it be great if even half of Americans put their hard earned money toward orphan care instead of corporate America as Christmas shopping was being done?

Mom2Four said...

Show Hope

Show Hope is dedicated to engaging the church to care for orphans and reducing the financial barriers to adoption. This means that we are actively involved in three areas:

Adoption Aid: providing waiting orphans with loving families by financially assisting adoptive couples through adoption grants. More on Adoption Aid
Orphan Care: participating in orphan care projects that address the holistic needs of orphans—physically, emotionally and spiritually, with the ultimate goal of helping to place the child in the best permanent situation possible, ideally a forever family. More on Orphan Care
Getting Involved: mobilizing individuals and communities to care for orphans through our Adoption Aid and Orphan Care programs. More on Getting Involved
Compassion International http://www.compassion.com/

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

World Vision
International and Domestic efforts to combat poverty and injustice. Also has a micro-finance division

blood:water mission
Blood:Water Mission is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crisis. Works mainly in Africa

Canada to China and back! said...

Great post! I like the teacher gift idea. Here is my link, and its near and dear to my heart. Agape Family Life House in Beijing. The Wyse family are from The U.S. and they have adopted 3 girls with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) from China. They saw the need for foster care of kids with this disability as often in orphanages they are never picked up and loved as the nannies are too scared to "break" these kids. So they moved to China and run this home that has many kids with this disease, they offer them a family, physio and visits from surgeons that these kids otherwise wouldnt ever receive. They also do much, much more. So here is their link

Thanks for the great ideas!


Hill Country Hill Tribers said...

My friend and I are co-founders of a non-profit in Austin that works with Burmese refugee weavers and we love your blog. We have a lot of fair and direct trade groups whose work we think is amazing. Buying their products means supporting the women and men who receive a living wage, education, help to escape sex trafficking, and many other benefits. Plus you get great products! You can find the list on our blog: http://hilltribers.blogspot.com/2010/11/holiday-shopping.html

The Byrd's Nest said...

There is so much need isn't there? When I was in language school last year a young single missionary girl was on fire in ministry to help children all over the world that were victims of human trafficking. During chapel one day I was unaware that she was speaking on this and was unprepared....well...seriously, how do you prepare yourself for videos and pictures about this? It was so disturbing, I thought I was going to be sick...I mean it. I know that I knew this was going on but not in the sense she was telling us...not with all of the statistics and that these men even have tattoos on themselves so they can identify themselves easier! There were actually even motels in Costa Rica, because prostitution is not illegal, that just serviced men that wanted children! They even kidnap these children in other countries and bring them to the USA. We have had a couple of people here in Mexico leery of us because they think we "stole" Lottie and Emma. They are terrified of people stealing their children. There is so much sadness. Oh...my heart has been broken ever since. I couldn't sleep for weeks after these videos. I pray that other people feel the same way and help these foundations.

Mrs. Okra said...

Check out http://www.skillsfororphans.org/

They are a new organization with great ideas...

Thanks for all the links!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Love all of these! Thanks so much for sharing them!

The Gang's Momma! said...

Shout out for Living Hope International. It's the sister org to our adoption agency, Living Hope Adoption Agency.

Basically, Mr. Fang started this org to care for, educate, house, etc. children who are in China living as orphans but not legally defined as orphans. You can sponsor a child, you can send gifts set apart from sponsorship, and you can contact them at http://www.livinghopeintl.org/index.asp

We got to tour the Beijing facility when we travelled in '08 and they are doing a good, good work. Lots of love and affection and joy in that home, in addition to the wonderful education and physical care.

Thanks for the chance to give a shout-out. I'm doing a similar thing on my blog this weekend.