Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent: Christmas Charity

What charities do you support?  Is there something that really tugs at your heart?  Are there charities you give to all year long or just at the holiday time?  Share with us who you give your donations to.



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Last Christmas through the Advent Conspiracy, I was really challenged to think about the dollars that I have not as mine, but as a gift that I can use to accomplish something greater than myself.  While I still don't do as much as I probably could or want to do, I've really worked hard this year to be intentional.  I don't always succeed, but I find that the more I give the happier I am.  The more I see my dollars multiply the more I feel like I accomplish with the gifts I've been given. 

As I began thinking about my Christmas "wish list", I really started thinking about all the "things" I have and found myself struggling to find places to put those things I .  You know when you have a new garage full of boxes of things you are storing for "someday" instead of your car, you know its time for an intervention.

While there were a few things that I wanted, there really was nothing that I needed.  So, instead I decided to really look at my wish list this year as a wish list for something greater than ME.  When there are families living in trash heaps and city dumps, I really have a hard time asking and wishing for more things to fill my overly decorated house. 


So, in the words of Amy Grant, here are the things on my Grown Up Christmas List:

  • Compassion International Gift Catalog - I sponsor 2 kids through compassion, Robina and Richmond who's birthday was last week.  I appreciate so much what this organization does to teach and train children and in the process to take care of their communities in a greater way to benefit many. I've had a chance to sit behind the table at a couple different events and ask the tough questions of the people next to me and believe strongly that the children see the benefits of your gifts.  What a great way to honor the people in your life by changing the life of another human across the globe. 
  • Another one I love is the World Vision Catalog.  I always say "just buy me a goat instead" and this organization lets you do just that.  But, there are so many more options.  We forget that ducks, chickens and seeds are more than just a way to eat. For people across our country and world, this is a livelihood.  But, both of these organizations offer opportunities to invest in education, lifestyle behavior and sanitary protection that we take for granted.  I purchased some gifts through World Vision this year and would like to invite you to join me.
  • It almost goes without saying that Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society see much of my charitable dollar.  I obviously believe whole heartedly in this organization as the premier charity in the fight against cancer.  They are the #1 funder of research outside the US government and at the same time we take an active fight to help treat the patient and caregiver as well.  If you find yourself or someone you know fighting cancer this holiday season, let me encourage you to check out www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345 with any questions.  Cancer never takes a holiday and neither do we!
  • Over the last 2 years, I've come to know a great organization called Feed My Starving Children through my friends Ashton and Austin Samuelson who own Pitza 42, a restaurant in Conway, AR committed to providing healthy food and making a difference in the world at the same time.  I'm challenged by their philosophy to turn businesses into a way to solve an epidemic - starvation.  Over 18,000 children die each day (yes, you read that right) from malnutrition and starvation because nearly 500 million people in the world are on the verge of starvation.  That's serious!  And, if hunger is the single most solvable problem facing the world today, you can do something about it. 
  • I want to share with you about a charity that I discovered last year at the Holiday House in Little Rock. I love supporting local shops and for sure local charities. So, while browsing the aisles of goodies and looking for a little munchies, I ran across Simple Pleasures Gift Shop. Simple Pleasures is a gift arm of the Arkansas Rice Depot who was founded 30 years ago by an Arkansan concerned about hunger here in our state and decided to make a difference.  Simple Pleasures offers a wide variety of rice and bean mixes along with some other items like t-shirts and Wassil mix.  Check it out.  It makes for the perfect stocking stuffers or Christmas happy! 
Outside of my local church and my beloved Ouachita Baptist University these are the organizations I'm partnering with. 

What about you? What strikes your heart?  Who are you committed to?

Happy Advent,
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