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‘Tis More Blessed To Give

December 3, 2010 by  

‘Tis More Blessed To Give

My children were shocked last week when I told them what I wanted for Christmas this year.

I asked for a pig. Or a goat. Or some chickens. Or maybe even a heifer. Oh, not for me, but for someone in Bangladesh or Darfur or some other impoverished country where some barnyard animals could truly change a family’s life.

If you’re like me and have trouble giving your children a gift suggestion that would be meaningful for them and appreciated by you, may I make a suggestion? Why not ask them to give a gift to someone else in your name?

I have been very impressed by the work being done around the world by Heifer International. You will be, too, if you go to their website here. Another organization that has earned my support is World Vision. Their motto this year says it very well: “Sponsoring a child is the greatest gift you can give this Christmas.” Check them out here.

Or how about helping someone start a business? In many parts of the world a loan of just $25 or $50 can be truly transforming. And please note that I said “loan,” not “gift.” There are many wonderful organizations around the world that supervise such tiny loans; it’s called “microfinancing,” and it can also change lives. Go online, Google the word and pick a group whose mission and accomplishments you like. Then send them some money.

My friends can’t say enough good things about these three microfinancing organizations: Grameen Foundation, Kiva and Project Concern International. Please check them out and, if you feel so inclined, send them a check so they can expand their marvelous work.

The numbers can be astounding: Kiva has helped loan more than $175 million to about 450,000 people in more than 100 countries around the world. Eighty-one percent of the recipients are women. And their payback rate is an astounding 98.99 percent. Grameen has made more than a million loans with similar results. I hope you will help them do even more.

For nearly 200 years, Americans have been known for their incredible generosity. We give away more of our wealth than any other nation that ever existed. And no, I am not talking here about foreign aid, our military presence or any other governmental program. I am referring to the staggering amount of time, money and goods that we contribute privately. As I said, we are the most generous, caring, giving people who have ever lived.

But unfortunately, for many reasons, our giving has declined dramatically in the past couple of years. The nation’s 400 biggest charities reported an 11 percent drop in donations last year. That’s the worst decline since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began keeping records 20 years ago.

Part of the decline is no doubt because of the financial crisis we have suffered; many of us simply don’t have the same resources we once did. I suspect that an even bigger explanation is our worries about the future. If we believe our savings won’t earn as much, our taxes will go up and our jobs are not as secure as they once were, of course we’re going to become more conservative in our spending and in our giving. That just makes sense.

But as a result, some truly wonderful groups doing amazing good around the world have had to reduce their efforts. This holiday season, please give one of them some help. In fact, if you have a favorite charity that needs support, go to the comments section at the end of today’s column and tell us about it.

If you still need a gift idea for someone near and dear to you, let me mention one that won’t cost very much yet could yield many hours of enjoyment. It’s a delightful travelogue called 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Let me assure you, it will make a wonderful present for every armchair traveler on your list.

What sort of places can you visit vicariously in 1,000 Places? How about the world’s largest oasis? It’s the Okavango Delta in Botswana, southern Africa. And as author Patricia Schultz says, “If you see 10 percent of what sees you, it’s an exceptional day.”

Or sail the Grenadines. It’s 32 islands and hundreds of tiny cays, strung like a necklace of gems across 40 miles of some of the clearest, calmest, blue-green waters in the Caribbean. Or tour the covered souks of Aleppo, Syria, where the labyrinthine streets seem straight out of A Thousand and One Nights, and frankincense and myrrh are still sold in open-air markets.

The more athletic can hike the Tasman Glacier in Mount Cook National Park on the South Island of New Zealand, or climb the Tuscan hills to one of Italy’s most charming walled cities, San Gimignano.

There’s a comprehensive index at the back so you can quickly look up a particular place. In addition to a general index, the publisher has very cleverly added subject-specific indexes — the best beaches, festivals and special events, culinary experiences, destination restaurants, castles and palaces and glories of nature, among others.

One of the biggest surprises I found in 1,000 Places was how many of the 190 destinations in the United States were places I had never heard of. But thanks to good luck and lots of traveling, I can put a check mark next to many of the destinations. And I heartily concur with the inclusion of each one, from the very obscure (the Million-Dollar Highway that runs between Silverton and Durango, Co.) to the obvious (Walt Disney World in Orlando or the Bellagio in Las Vegas).

This column is taking me a long time to write, because I keep stopping to read about another marvelous destination… or two, or three… every time I pause to check something. So let me wrap up my enthusiastic description of the book by noting that 1,000 Places to See Before You Die is 974 pages long and costs $19.95 in a trade paperbound edition. At two cents per description, the book is one heck of a bargain. But stick around and I’ll tell you how to get it for even less.

Book Bargains Abound
I’m sure you’re already familiar with two of the best sources on the web for just about any title that’s ever been published — Amazon.com and bn.com, the Barnes and Noble website. You’ll find hundreds of thousands of titles, both new and used, on both. (By the way, Amazon has a special on 1,000 Places. You can get a copy for $11.97. Or just $9.99 for an e-version.)

I’m a big fan of both sites. But are you familiar with an even bigger and more addictive source for used books of every variety and description? It’s called abebooks.com. And every book-lover should mark it as one of their favorites.

I first discovered AbeBooks several years ago. At the time, it consisted of several hundred used bookstores, mostly in the U.S. and Canada, and had something like 40,000 titles listed. Today AbeBooks consists of more than 10,000 used bookstores from every corner of the globe. And it brags that it has more than 50 million titles in its online inventory. What a book browsers’ delight!

Out of curiosity, I just went to Abebooks.com and looked up 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. I found 381 offerings, starting at just $3.64 with free shipping. The most expensive version was $172.40 and no, it isn’t printed on gold.

Among the many miracles that the Internet has produced for me, I put AbeBooks near the top of the list. It’s an amazing resource. If you’re a booklover too (and you must be, if you enjoy this column), go to abebooks.com and look for some titles you’d love to add to your collection. Chances are you’ll be happily surprised by the number of choices you’ll have… and the money you can save.

And remember, nobody ever returned a book because it didn’t fit.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of PersonalLiberty.com. He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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  • maggiemoo

    Personally, I love sponsoring children through Compassion International. But I also like the idea of Heifer International.

    • Michael

      I think charity should begin at home. Let’s take care of our own children, there are lots of families in need of a little help here in the U.S.A.. The nations we so generously donate to, are the ones that back stab us and put us down for not giving more. We have helped more people overseas than here at home. It is time for us to start taking care of our own and stay out of the affairs of other nations.

      • Claire

        Michael– Well said and I agree.

      • Teresa

        Agree totally, I support helping others but there is so many people here in America that needs help right now. The holidays are upon us and people out of work and kids on the streets and going hungry every day.

      • Bruce D.

        We need to find a way to help our children become more able. The public schools seem to teach dependency on government as many young adults seem to be turning to the left and socialism for support. That will only lead them to a loss of freedom. Many famous personalities look to help those in Hatti and Africa but have given up on the youth in the ghetto. Over twelve trillion dollars have been given away to help the poor in America since LBJ declared war on poverty. Redistribution has been a complete failure in America. The left seem to believe that somehow giving another trillion or two away will magically work this time.

        • bp

          Bruce; Yes, 75% of black male youth drop-out of high school, an enormous number, shocking statistic.

          • TIME

            BP,
            The facts are that even though our schools have made it impossible to fail, the fact is that many young blacks have no clue about life.

            Why? They have become a new class of people. Many blacks and latino’s even many whites who have allowed themselfs to become the
            “new Welfare class” they have all but destroyed the possibility of ever breaking this cycle.
            Thats one reason why gangs have been growing in numbers over the last 30 years, what else is there for them to do.

            Government restrictions and outright crazy laws have made it so this class of Americans can and never and will be able to get out of this cycle with out help in the form of Human contact, and the teaching of Love and Caring.
            The only way thats society allows these kids out of this cycle is by way of either being a drug dealer, or becomeing a Gang Banger who talks Rap Crap.
            Take note of any black stars you know of or see now, who are they, where did they come from RAP Crap Talkers. How sad is that?

            We have supported Big Brothers for years and we even took in one child who’s mother left him on our door step years ago.
            I am happy to tell you all he is in his first year at Cal Tec. and we could not be more proud of him. He has never been an “in the box thinker” and saddly thats been what held him back.
            He is a great kid who is going to go far, and for the record he’s white.
            I also have worked with two black youths and one Hispanic all three are grown up and doing very well for themselfs.
            One is now a Captain in the Airborne he really shines. One of them is working for me and he is a Great worker and has a BA in Fine Music. I guess I had some inpact on him. The other is working on getting his PHD, and he is like a son to me; we could not be more proud of him. He plans on becomeing a Doctor.

            So I say this Charity starts with US, each of US, we hold the keys, be a mentor help kids learn the TRUTHS, Help them many are LOOKING for your to help not in money even if its just a few hours per week palying base ball or tossing a football.
            Even if all you do is just talk with them, take them to the Library, help them study. I can tell you most kids can’t read past a 3 or 5 grade level if that, and they have very limited comprehension levels as they don’t teach that anylonger in school, its all superficial trash they get for class’s.

            Many of the young blacks have no clue about anything that involves work.
            So I teach them to play Guitar, Bass, Key boards, Drums etc.
            I do this for free I now have a class of 35 kids that I started out just six months ago with 2. The hook, they must read a book per week and do work around the studio and yard work and help with my horses.

            This teaches them skills in doing a job righ and the understanding that when you do a job you get paid.
            They gains rewards in learning and becoming real active members of society.
            Last week we had a massive Pizza Party as a reward for helping local familys in need with a food drive ~ and JFTR, this is all on my dime
            There is No Government grants no tax breaks.

            If Fifty thousand people helped just one kid that would fix many of problems we now have. And don’t forget your own kids also need to understand that money dose not grow on tree’s, have them do something for what they want. That in the long run will be 1000X better than a new play station toy.

          • Bruce D.

            Good job Time. I understand and agree with your perspective.

          • Kate8

            TIME – There aren’t many men like you anymore. If there were, we surely wouldn’t be in this mess.

            You are truly and inspiration and a blessing. Thanks for making my day.

          • Kate8

            TIME – Just as an aside, Obama is held up to demonstrate that anyone, “even a black man”, can become President in America.

            While that is a nice idea, it’s not true. Every president, at least in recent times, has come from wealth and privilege. Not to mention memebership it elite societies.

            Obama is no different. He was selected by powerful forces (probably from conception), bred and groomed for the position he now holds, and this includes his ethnicity.

            No one rises to power except those chosen by the elites, from their own ranks.

      • bp

        Michael; A VALID point well taken. Most countries are ungrateful, we send too much of our resources overseas; creating a dependency on US.

        • Bruce D.

          I agree and where does it say in the Constituition that the government can take money out of your paycheck and redistribute it around the world and also borrow money to do it.

        • bob marts

          Obummer should be placed on rico charges with George Soros in destroying America.

        • JC

          My wife and I try and put about 20 kids a year through school in Peru.
          The group we do this with take the funds directly there and supply the kids with school supplies. Without those supplies they can not attend. Everyone involved pays their own way and not one dime of the funds raised goes into anyone’s pocket. All of it goes to benefit the kids.

          Most organizations out there take 90% of what they get just to run their bureacracy. The other 10% rarely gets to the right people.

          Be careful how you support charity. Too much of it looks and behaves just like government.

      • Robin from Arcadia, IN

        Michael… What you say is true, but you must also consider that government help to 3rd World countries usually does not get to the people who need it, but it goes to those in charge to further their agenda. This is where a good and reputable charity comes in. If they can by-pass the greedy government, and actually get the donation to those in need, kudos! We can’t stop helping those in need, but we need to decide where we want our help to go.

        • Common Tater

          Unfortunately, many times Third World countries are Third World precisely b/c of the machinations of our government. It’s not us I’m blaming, it’s our government and its economic hit men.

          I agree though we must really start to take care of our own, at the same time we take care of the reasons for our poverty here at home, which is a debt-based money system. Government must get back to issuing currency and credit and stop taking on debt from the banksters in the globalist banks, such as the Federal Reserve.

      • eddie47d

        There are numerous ways to help our fellow Americans so let’s get busy. The Salvation Army,Toys for Tots and local food pantries. I have given to the Heifer project for many years too. I do hope that the recipients take care of the animals and breed them for income and not slaughter the animal for one good meal.

        • Teresa

          Ck. w/your local schools as well w/the local churches for donations of the coats. Most locals here take up every year for the needy families who are in need of clothing and food.
          Another one is DAV….disabled veterans

      • Carole Howell

        Michael,
        That is very true, but Bangladesh is not one of them, one of the poorest nations on earth and one of the first to give money to the hurricane victims of Florida awhile back. It was a very substantial sum for such a very impoverished country, but since we had helped them during their terrible floods after their terrible hurricane, they wanted to give back, it moved me to tears.

        So do not put little Bangladesh on that list.

      • Don Myers

        Personally, I agree with the giving. Hopefully, here at home. How about the home Veteran? Let’s not just have pity on them; let’s help them. One of the reasons that we can give, is that they did! Some gave their all.

      • Don Myers

        Personally, I agree with the giving. Hopefully, here at home. How about the homeless Veterans? Let’s not just have pity on them; let’s help them. One of the reasons that we can give, is that they did! Some gave their all.

      • Sunshine49

        This past year we decided to give to charities instead of political
        campaigns. Just think, over seven-hundred MILLION was given
        to Obama’s campaign alone during the 2008 elections. I have no
        idea how many millions were spent on the 2010 elections.

        This is a disgrace when people are without food or homes HERE
        in America. The politicians take enough of OUR money after the
        elections so we don’t need to give them any more before elections!

        How about the millions in bailout money that Obama gave to the
        unions that ended up going for Democrat campaigns? Now they
        are cutting insurance for the children of union workers because
        they don’t have enough money — DUH!

        Just think what food banks and ministries could do with all that
        money that was spent on political campaigns! And even after the
        elections they are STILL asking for more money!

        WHY are we funding the evil that is destroying us? No offense here,
        but the (Jewish owned and run) media made the most money with
        all the campaign ads. A media that does NOT tell us the truth and
        did NOTHING to “vet” the politicians like Obama! It’s like we are
        funding the construction of our own gallows by funding politicians!

        I would rather help “the people” then the politicians!

  • ConnieJ

    Many churches, including ours, are involved in this project. It is a worthwhile project, simply because it helps people to help themselves, unlike in this country where everyone you help keeps his hand extended for additional money. I don’t say that you shouldn’t help those in this country, but it would be nice if more of them would put forth some effort of their own.

  • http://com i41

    Agree on the taking care of peope here in the USA. First way to help people in the USA, is to get rid of these massive wasteful parks. Less than 5% of people in the USA. ever see or experience the millions oacres of idle land, that agencies can not take care of. Let people learn own land, to produce food again and learn where it come from. Elitist smucks like everyone supporting their private play grounds. For starters, cut the decades of ag CRP programs that pay landowners to produce nothing and do nothing. When the land used to support families, ADM and Con-Ag are two big corporations that collect bilions. This land and taxpayer money could be used to put people back to producing something weather food or widgets. Instead of government making wards out of its citizens.

  • http://www.keysinsurance.com Linda

    I donate food once a month to our local food bank at our church. I agree with the other posts, we need to more to help those less fortunate here at home.

  • Joyce from Loris

    My charitable donations will be spent at home, but more than that, my charitable ACTIONS will be at home as well. Sometimes, people need something besides money. Elderly people need help with their meals, their housework, yard work, etc. Young mothers sometimes just need a couple of hours to themselves. Keep their children for them. There are so many ways that we can help each other, even in a bad economy. We are all struggling, and if we lean on each other, and trust in God, we can all get through this together.

  • Delores Smith

    CHIP WOOD – EXCELLENT ARTICLE – Thank you…
    But…Chip…I’ve been to all of those places…and if you believe that…Take care.
    Delores Smith
    Delores109@cox.net

  • BobS

    I have heard, but not done any research on, that any donations to the Salvation Army more than 90% of your dollar actually goes for charity unlike other charities where most of it goes for admin costs. They have Christmas Kids on their site where you put in your zip code and your charity stays in your area. Also Clark Howard has a thing where you sponser a child and buy presents for them from a list they give or you can donate on his site and they will buy the presents for you.

    • ValDM

      Salvation Army is a good one. These are some of the others I contribute to: Union Gospel Mission, Angel Tree (prison ministry for children of the incarcerated), Compassion International (has a better track record than WorldVision), local food bank, and several others on a once-a-year basis.

    • JC

      Analysis: Here, as of 2003, are the most accurate figures for the above-listed executives I could find in reliable sources:

      •Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross, was paid $468,599 in salary and benefits in fiscal 2003. (Source: BBB Wise Giving Alliance)

      •Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way, was paid $432,709 in salary and benefits in fiscal 2003. (Source: Charity Navigator)

      •W. Todd Bassett, National Commander of the Salvation Army, was paid (along with his wife, who also works for the organization) $94,091 in salary and benefits in 2003 (including house and car). (Source: Fayetteville Observer)

      That’s the top of those ladders. Now figure how much is going to the heirarchy that supports them.
      How much goes to waste…

      The Salvation Army so far appears to be the one truly interested in doing community work for the sake of helping people.

  • Wayne W

    All these comments are correct, yet who is helped with this sort of thing? The common people. While leaders of these countries may turn a sour face towards us, we are investing in the future leaders by helping the children. We need to be on watch, however, in the cold war era the U.S. shipped many tons of wheat overseas. The russians added S.R. on the bags of wheat. They now read U.S.S.R.
    Let’s help those at home. Remember children are children.

  • Claire

    For example, Oprah gave all the people in her audience a new car and trips to Australia–that was generous but I think the money that she spent could have done more good if it had been given to honest charities–especially for the neglected children of America.

    • pennsyltuckian

      Liberal elites like Oprah and Ovomit don’t care about the US or our citizens in need. All they care about is helping illegals and Africans. If they helped poor Americans, white, black, or hispanic, they would not be able to continually use the race card.

      • Kate8

        pennsyltuckian – I am not a big Oprah fan, but she did explain why she opened the school in Africa instead of America.

        She said that black American children have such an attitude of entitlement that they don’t appreciate things anymore. They would complain that it was not enough, demand more, and care little about education.

        In contrast, the African children were filled with gratitude and eager to better themselves.

        With this logic, I have to agree with her. Our nation has forgotten the concept of gratitude. This is why we are losing our blessings.

        • Claire

          Kate8–Good post.

        • JC

          Kate, worse than that…our nation has forgotten the concept of responsibility. And they were taught to think that way…in school.

    • Average Joe Patriot

      True. Let’s not confuse “doing good” with “doing good theater.” Oprah has always struck me (I admit I don’t watch her, but who can avoid watching ABOUT her?) as a talented, self-serving show-woman. Indiscriminately handing out cars is not charity, it’s attention- and headline-grabbing showmanship.

      On a gut level I like the ideas of charity expressed here, but I cannot disagree with those who say true charity begins at home. Perhaps (if you have spare arable land) starting, or joining, a local community garden or farm animal co-op might make more sense. Donate some chickens to that, promise via IOU to help plow or plant, or buy neighbors and relatives memberships. Chances are good that your community will be appreciating it in the future…sooner rather than later.

      Instead of relatively useless holiday greeting cards, exchange organic sprout-seed packets, with instructions for use. Instead of putting up a spruce with decorations, plant a tree which can bear edible fruit. Hang a few decorations on that. Rather than handing out fruitcakes (heaven knows we see enough of them on the nightly “news”) or mainstream media magazine subscriptions, consider ammunition and magazine clips to contain it, great stocking stuffers. For bigger ticket gifts, try Outdoor Bunker or Cheaper Than Dirt dot com. Much more useful stuff than Victoria’s Secret or the fancy electronics outlets.

      Or perhaps I’m just having trouble getting into the holiday spirit lately, watching the news and reading between the lines.

      • Kate8

        AJP – I have to admire the way Oprah came from a childhood of abuse and poverty and rose to the top. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, she refused to be stopped. Isn’t that the America dream, after all?

        Now she is part of the elite club. Part of the ones who are dedicated to population reduction, along with Bill Gates. To this end is their ‘humanitarian’ vaccination campaign.

        • Claire

          Kate8– I agree with your words. I have always thought that money can do strange things to people. Either they become a better person for it, or they can go down the path of greed, wanting more and more and never being satisfied, eventually becoming shallow, with no regard for anything or anyone.

          • Kate8

            Claire, When you think about it, as people rise to fame and fortune there are many sycophants who attach to them like leaches, to syphon their lifeblood. I would imagine that this would tend to jade a person’s view of humanity.

            There is always a price to pay for having everything that money can buy.

          • Claire

            Kate8—LOL “Relatives” come out of the woodwork-literally!

        • Average Joe Patriot

          Me too, however much of that may or may not be true. But if she thinks she’s part of the elite, she’s got another kick coming.

          The money’s meaningless to the people who order it printed (written up as debt, is the way most of it works). She’s another useful fool-tool. I doubt she’s high enough in the hierarchy to know it, yet she’s not stupid, she may sense this. We see this again and again. Someone steps forward, we have hopes, then they back down and support some nonsense like the official 9/11 explanation or planet-wide vaccinations or healthcare reform, whether or not electronic vote fraud occurred in ’04 (of course it did), absolute gun-control (yup, make ‘em all go away by popular vote, outlaw them all out of existence), internet policing, some other obvious absurdity. (They even suddenly back Obama, perhaps.) We’ve seen it in Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher, even in John McCain though his case is questionable, he’s flip-flopped so often I’m not sure what he even knows he thinks anymore. Ron Paul was screwed sideways, with nary a protest. WHAT? We’ve seen it over so many wild sexual scandals within the Republican party. We’ve seen this “I was for it before I was against it” so often the rational mind reels. No one could have imagined planes hitting the towers (after all the official studies and reports delivered on what would happen if…). It gets wearisome. And whatever happened to that funny little computer guy from Texas with the ears, who gave Clinton and Bush Sr. such a run for their money in the debates? Disappeared.

          Hmm. So I wonder, why is that, why do they back down? (Or they don’t back down, and we read of a tragic accident, drug overdose, early heart attack, unsolved mugging, or suicide no one saw coming. They suddenly retire “to spend more time with their family.”)

          Does it not seem sometimes as though there just might be forces at work beyond our elected leaders’ control? Even our favorite talking heads’ control? Does anyone else get a feeling about this?

          Why, no matter who or what comes up to alter the standard equation, does everything stay on the same seemingly inevitable course?

          I must be a conspiracist.

          • Kate8

            AJP – Ya think?

          • Kate8

            AJP – That comment was about the things you said, not about being a conspiracist.

            “Conspiracy theorist” is just a label they put on people who learn the truth so no one will believe them.

            I think you are right on.

          • Average Joe Patriot

            You’d be right on both counts, Kate. I believe only idiots are not conspiracy theorists. You have to be either Columbo, or brain-dead when presented with most of the $#!+ we’re subjected to daily.

            The brain-dead barely even see it, those who do have got to ask themselves some questions: Who-all could have been behind the latest $#!+ we’re reading, seeing, hearing; who is telling me this and why do they want me to believe it? What does this portend, and what are they not telling us, or attempting to distract us from? When did each significant event occur, i.e., in what precise order? Where did this info orginate, where is the chain of evidence, what agency is responsible for it? Why did this supposedly happen, and why are they just telling us this now? How the hell could this happen in the first place?

            (Apply all that to the 9/11 event or the Kennedy assassinations. Apply it to the BP gulf explosion and underwater gusher and subsequent cover-up. Apply it to the entire Viet Nam war, while you’re about it toss in Afghanistan and Iraq; it is one thing to say mistakes were made in the field, your kid’s dead, quite another to reveal that lies were told to get him/her there in the first place.)

            The old and time-honored reporter-investigator questions, from back when we had investigative journalism. You remember, before Clinton signed out of law the rule that people like Rupert Murdoch couldn’t buy up all the news outlets and through them tell us his corporate version of reality via print, TV, radio, the web, even movies. Before we ended up with a mere six international media corporations informing us of what over a hundred used to tell us here in the US, based on what thousands of journalists used to dig up, backed up by tens of thousands of reporters worldwide. Now we just get Lindsay Lohan, prancing with the stars, and whatever people like John Boehnhead want us to hear. Oh, car chases and cake recipes. I just know I’m leaving something out here…no, not home remodeling tips or the weather, which are a given…oh, yes, weight loss tips. WWIII just started, and here are your weight loss tips. Stop eating junk food…well, you won’t be doing much of that now, will you?

            A modern conspiracy theorist is his/her own mental investigative journalist, asking the questions “news reporters” don’t ask anymore: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?

            Nowadays? They are mere half-clever typists and manicured heads, passing off press releases as noteworthy news. “This just in,” and so forth.

            If you’re not a conspiracy theorist these days? You don’t know what in the fBLEEPk is going on. Go back to your Blitzer, your Beck, your Matthews, Hannity, Olberman, O’Reilly, your Savage or Limbaugh…go get your “news” from AOL or USA Today, or Stewart and Colbert (as some huge percentage of today’s college students claim in national polls), Leno and Letterman. Who needs to sift through daily news data when all these media clowns will do it for you and make it fun, too.

            Until people start realizing their own mind is the true source of their news, they’re doomed to walk forever in the dark, pretty much brain-dead. Yup, you were right the first time, I’m a conspiracist, Kate.

          • Kate8

            AJP – And, it’s not so much what is reported in the news, as what ISN’T reported.

            I base much of my opinion on what is omitted or denied.

  • John Sullivan

    Samaritan’s Purse is another worth while organization. They have a world wide outreach as well as teams of volunteers helping those in need in the US. They have medical missions, clean water projects, provide livestock and poultry as well as the training to care for them, HIV education etc. For more information http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

    • Damon

      Amen, John! I like it better than Heifer because it is specifically doing the work in Christ’s name.

  • dan

    My father in law gave me two heifers (holsteins) a while back when I couldn’t find paying work. They gave good whole milk for my growing boys AND their calves.Cream,butter,cheese and the early morning and evening milking were great therapy and a good time to contemplate my blessings…I have never been poor or lazy,I just have never been
    all that interested in money,trinkets or toys.Warm ,dry and well fed
    seem to be reasonable goals.I would encourage those of you who wish to help …to use wisdom as your guide.

  • http://stickmewithafork.blogspot.com TIMedWork

    Chip,
    As you say, ‘diversionary’ giving can be a lot of fun while being rewarding in many ways: to the giver, the recipient, as well as yourself; Three for the price of one.

    Years ago, when I had a service business in New York, it occurred to me to have as much fun as Santa on Christmas Eve. Since my business was pretty successful, I would take that day off and spend time with family and friends preparing to go to the midnight service of Christmas. Well, one year I received a call from a desperate client who really couldn’t wait until after Christmas so I agreed to make an appointment for Dec. 24. Having concluded my visit, she asked me how much did she owe. After giving her the dollar amount of the service call, a substantial sum, she asked, “And to whom shall I make out the check?” Suddenly the elf in me arose. Since I would have taken the day off anyway, my income for that day would have been zero. So, no harm being done if I made zero income as planned, I asked her, “Who’s your favorite charity?” That was the most fun of all. The look on her face as she morphed from puzzlement to bewilderment as she had to think was wonderful. It would appear at that point that she didn’t have a charity to which she would ordinarily give and was scrambling for something that was legit and made sense to her as a ‘favorite’. When she finally named a favorite, I told her to make out the check to them. I then took the check and mailed it the following business day. She remarked as to what a great idea that was and I felt that she had opened a door to what can be done to better the world when you stop just briefly to consider it. And she certainly enjoyed knowing that the tax deduction was hers, yet the warmth of the moment was shared well beyond the two of us.
    Thanks, Chip, for bringing this great way to be part of the solution to light. And Merry Christmas!

  • Cindy

    The wonderful organizations listed here to help disadvantaged people in poor countries are doing the work that has helped America and AmericanS lift the standard of living of millions of people around the world. Americans are good and compassionate people, and would help EVERY person in the world if we could. That there are starvation and oppression in the world is not our choice and not our fault, but we have seen that GOVERNMENTS cannot/will not do this as efficiently and at the personal level where the help is most needed. Compassionate people and good, honest, private organizations vastly outperform government programs, and actually “teach people to fish”, instead of just giving them a fish…
    Hmmm… might just be something we consider here at home too…
    Before you give to any organization, check their background, mission statement and financials. Try to choose the best way to maximmise your donations directly to those who need our help.
    Merry Christmas, and looking forward to a happier New Year!

  • Patty Weesner

    I have bought llamas, goats, rabbits, chickens, even bees for Heifer Int’l. I think it is a great organization. My only wish is that they would let you select the country, and that USA be one of them. As some of you have mentioned, right now there are many in America who need help. But remember: If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; but if you teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. We could have community gardens that would teach people to grow their own food, use those city parks to make gardens and assign plots to people, share the food they grow so they can have a variety, and if there is excess food, teach them how to preserve it. Many of our military families don’t get much money, and also we have so many unemployed people who could be involved in this. People with skills could teach those with no skills. And they would depend on themselves then, and on each other instead of the government who seeks only to control them.

    • Cindy

      Good ideas – way too many people don’t have a clue how to get food if the superstore closes down. This will be a very bad thing as the economy continues to decline. Why then is our government considering placing further control on food we are able to grow for our own use? Please contact your representatives about the “Food Safety Bill”. We all want “safe” food, but the US food supply is by far the safest in the world already, and this bill aims to place further government control on the production of OUR food.

      • Cathy

        “We all want “safe” food, but the US food supply is by far the safest in the world already, and this bill aims to place further government control on the production of OUR food.”
        ——————
        Do you really believe that our food supply is that safe? I hope you and everyone else on this forum are aware of the fact that the USDA actually “inspects” less than 1% of the meat that gets to your table. They no longer lie about it and have removed the “USDA inspected” stickers from all the meat packages.

      • Cathy

        I forgot to mention that I AM against this food bill. It’s all about control. Notice how the Republicans just rolled over to vote yes on this one?

        To think that the FDA — the very same agency responsible for the Big Pharma death machine — is now going to “save us” by controlling food safety is highly irrational.

        • Average Joe Patriot

          I’ve been mouthing off too much here, but couldn’t let this pass.

          The FDA is responsible for the Big Pharma death machine (nice turn of phrase, Cath) in the same way a bicycle rides a fish. (The fish, in this case, is a human-eating shark.)

          Let’s not confuse who controls whom.

  • http://rorels@sbcglobal.net Lita Z. Biejo

    I totally agree that our country is helping so much other countires and we are forgetting our poor people, and disabled. We should be taking care of our americans here first. However, let’s not just simply give fish but let us teach them how to fish. For children above 12, there should be an organization to gather these children who are in need and maybe another organizaton to find out in the community the needs of some people willing to hire these children for work and get paid. Payment must be reasonable to the ability of the children e.g. gardening – weeding, cutting dry flowers/leaves, sweeping yard, or even minor cleaning, etc.

  • Bitter Libertarian

    Welfare is Often confused with Charity….Welfare is expected, Charity is not.

    Welfare is Legalized Plunder

    Welfare creates Dependence, NOT independence.

    EXAMPLE: Years ago Etheopia was starving, so all the caring people got together and conducted all sorts of Food Concerts, food drives, etc…The raised enough money and fed them and saved Millions from starvation. They did it so well that the population has since then doubled!! No additional farmlands, technology, or birth control education was ever implemented and guess what..theyre starving again and in need or more welfare.

    Charity is good, but beware your charity isnt conducting Homicide in the long run.

  • Patty Weesner

    The problem I see with having the children working is that there will always be those who would exploit the children in many ways, and unless someone could be a trusted supervisor of such things, I would not want a child of mine to do it. It’s sad, but children are not safe out in the world without someone to protect them. I like the idea though of them learning to work to earn money instead of just holding out their hands for a handout. Many of the countries who are communistic starved their people because they probably knew the people would not agree with them taking over complete power in the country. Millions of people starved in Russia, China and many other countries I am sure because of this. Do you think this can’t happen in America? This new Food Bill they are passing RIGHT NOW could just be the beginning of more control in that direction in America. Start gathering what you will need now because soon you may not be able to buy it, either because the shelves at Walmart or Home Depot or Costco are not stocked anymore, or because the companies that made the products and the farmers who produced the food in the grocery stores could not stay in business any more due to the high taxes and regulations. If you don’t think this can happen, I will pray for you.

  • snickers

    Give to AMERICA not foreign, they don’t appreciate it. Teach the young and their parents how to survive. People today don’t even know how to cook, give them a chicken then teach them how to fry a egg instead of buying already mixed eggs in the store. I am appalled when I see the carts filled with microwave and pre-made foods, and then paid for with food stamps. My God anybody should be able to make a pot of mac and cheese and feed a bunch of kids.
    The do-gooders and churches that send their money to foreign companies should start a school to teach cooking, cleaning and survival techniques to the AMERICANS. And teach them not to run to the doctors for every little nick, scratch or sniffle they get.
    How much money has been dumped into these foreign lands year after year after year and what is the result. They stand their with their hands out again and again. Let them stand on their own 2 feet to survive, they’ll do it or they won’t, their choice. We did it to make American what it was at one time and we need to get back to that time.

  • snickers

    Do your research and plenty of it on the Salvation Army before you donate.

  • Douglas Reutzel

    I think this is a great idea, how about Compassion International a ministry to children living in poverty that educates, feeds, introduces the child to Jesus the reason for Christmas, gives them medical care all for $38 a month. Check them out with Charity Navigator and you will find they rank in the top 1% of all charities a very fine organization and they do what they say they will do.

    Douglas Reutzel

  • Helen Read

    For those of you who want to donate a gift here in the USA, please check out the Southwest Indian Foundation @ http://www.southwestindian.com
    They provide much needed help to the Navajo Indians and have many, many options to choose from.

  • Dave

    Have been giving Heifer giifts for years to family members, we all have plenty and don’t need superfilous junk. It is also fun to give a Crsitmas ornament that matches the animal gift to family with their card.

  • Cathy

    I only donate to animal welfare agencies. 70% of the wheat grown in this country is fed to animals that are then slaughtered for food. This could end world hunger if it were fed to people in the world instead.

    Of course, everyone will now jump on me. What a radical idea, huh? That’s OK. I understand. Everyone is taught how to eat from birth on and they just continue on without thinking about it.

    • Claire

      Cathy–I will not jump on you, in fact I agree with you. I haven’t eaten meat in years. There are plenty of other sources to obtain protein in your diet. I have always thought that animals are at the mercy of human beings. God put them on this earth for a reason, but exactly what was the reason? Just to eat? All the hormones and chemicals that they pump into a cow’s body is staggering. Not to mention what they do to baby calves to fatten them up for slaughter. If you are a radical for believing what you do, then I am a radical too.

      • Kate8

        Claire, Cathy, Count me in, too. I have avoided meat for over 30 years.

        It has long been said that eating animals would be the main source of contamination and disease in these times.

        Also, I love animals and my heart goes out to them. They go through so much suffering in today’s mass food production. It’s horrifying that people can be so inhuman, just for a buck.

        Consider that the elites have no greater regard for us than they do for how these animals are treated. We may be looking at our not-so-far-off-future.

        • Claire

          In my own mind I have always thought–”Show me a person without compassion for animals and I will show you a person without heart.” My own words and this is what I believe.

          • TIME

            Claire,
            Man o man you are dead on with that post, thank you so much..

          • Kate8

            Claire – Amen to that.

  • M. Amundsen

    Good article. I get the Heifer catalogue every year. It is a great organization. I also donate to animal welfare causes. But if you want to help at home, you don’t need money. There are many places locally that need the volunteers.

    But the main thing for me is teaching your children that it’s not all about them.

  • Claire

    I give to animal rescue organizations locally and a couple of them nationally. I also donate to the USO, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and yes, to other organizations that help our soldiers and veterans. I am really concerned about our troops and their families. We have food drives for the poor during the course of a year, and I give canned goods, etc. I also donate to the annual Christmas drive for the poor and unemployed here in town. My church always has a meal at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I donate money towards the food that is provided. I know all of us do what we can, and this is wonderful.

    • Kate8

      Claire – A local woman set up a donation fund to pay for veterinary care for sick and injured animals whose owners can’t afford it. It has been a blessing to many who love their pets but can’t afford to get help for them.

      I like to donate to several of the aforementioned organizations, too, but this year I’d like to do something creative and meaningful, as well. The kids will be off to be with extended family this year, and I actually look kind of forward to having the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.

      • Claire

        Kate8– How wonderful. We have 2 organizations here in town that do the same thing. Also, Animal Protective League provides spay and neuter. I remember during Katrina people drove down there and rescued animals, and people adopted them here. They took quite a lot of dog and cat food. Bless the lady you speak of and bless you!

  • Angel

    Beware of using Abebooks – they are based in Canada and your bank may charge you a fee for every purchase (including cancelled ones) as it is an international transaction.

    • Vigilant

      Biblio.com was a tremendous discovery and I recommend it to all. While you can save a bundle on new & used books, the best part is that you can get many out-of-print books at dirt cheap prices.

  • http://GOGGLE vaksal

    this article is definatly well written,and tells the real nature of all the american ideals in its true nature,it tells the reality of real help,instead of sending (MONEY,GOVERNMENT AID) that really doesnt help those folks in those nations,because 99% of the time,the leaders of those impoverished nations,spend that aid on themselfs and what ever suits them,(THE RULING ELITE),but when livestock and real items that have real daily use in every day life are sent,the folks that need this help are better off all the way around, it seems the normal american public has a better sense of reality in charity than the people in this nations government,instead of guns and other nonsense,this aid should be spent helping those in this nation first,for charity starts at home,then those who are worthy of this help,then can help themselfs and those around them,in turn a better life of relative harmony can be a true result,but sadly that is difficult to realise in this great nation due to the massive unemployment and over taxation of the people that are working just making a bare living,on all levels of the american society, but knowing the very nature of the american people,never in the history of the world,will there be a more generous people,WHY? because we are a nation of many nations,based on a common brotherhood of being a freedom loving and GOD loving people,with this i wish to say,may god bless everyone this year and protect you and yours always. signed ,VAKSAL

  • ME

    My only problem with Heifer International and some other similar charitable organizations, is although they state they take “donations in kind” and welcome such, I could actually get through to anyone within the organization to accomplish this. A “donation in kind” is the donation of the item that the organization is giving to it’s recipients. In my case I am a small rancher of Cashmere goats, which is a durable and multi-use animal, both for fiber and meat and I would much rather donate excess livestock than send to market. I’ll never know if this is feasible as I have never gotten through to those within Heifer International who can answer my request to donate. After many hours of calls, I gave up.
    As with so many other things, it seemed the bureaucracy of the organization got in the way of the functionality. Although they appeared enthused about the prospect, finding anyone within the group to make it happen didn’t seem to be a possibility. What little I did find out told me that many animals are purchased and shipped from the United States. My goal was to eliminate the purchase requirement and also to get my feel good, knowing these excess stock animals would sure a better purpose.

    • ME

      edit: typo “I couldn’t actually get through ………

  • Francine

    I have never written on one of these before but I find I cannot rest without expressing my opinion to Michael. There certainly are poor people in the United States but we have put systems in place to help those in need. The systems aren’t perfect, but they are grand compared to what others around the world suffer. In Kigali, Rwanda, the lucky orphan kids get placed in what they call “street houses”. This means about 12 orphaned kids live there and raise each other. When you turn 18, you’re thrown out of the house. The kids scrape for food as best they can, often going without meals. These young kids will do any kind of job for any paltry amount of money so they can contribute to the food for kids in their house. The older children get the younger children up in the morning and the lucky ones go off to “public” school, an open lot where they sit on the ground and listen. They don’t have to worry about getting dressed in the morning because they usually have only one set of clothes – again the lucky ones might have an extra t-shirt. They care for each other as best they can. Sometimes someone with a little authority will decide they want that house for their own purposes and the kids will get thrown onto the street. It is not unusual to find that a couple of them have contracted malaria within a month on the streets. Now I’ll tell you of my experience working for a rather pitiful salary, by USA standards as a manager in a fabric store. My assistant manager has figured out how to get section 8 housing although she has a full time job and a live-in boyfriend who is a retired police officer. He conveniently disappears whenever she gets “reviewed”. I have girls who work part time in their late teens and early twenties who intentionally have babies so they will get paychecks from the government and they also get free child care six days a week, morning till night if they take one school class a week, which is also paid for by the government (actually you and I pay for all of it). Another girl has a mother who receives free house cleaning from the government. Somehow, they’ve organized it so her daughter is the person the government pays to clean her mother’s house. By the way, the daughter has told the mother she doesn”t “do toilets”. Some girl’s I try to hire have graduated high school but don’t know there are 3 feet in a yardstick and a yard is 36 inches. I tutor them on the side and even give them free yardsticks so they can go home and practice. In the US, if you can get yourself to a school, you will be fed and educated if you want to learn!
    One street boy we helped out in Rwanda was able to get into a “private” school that gives you room and board and 2 sets of clothes and and a full education for $50 a month. This boy is 14 years old. As a special gift, we bought him a mattress for his wooden platform at the school. The mattress looked like a bedroll and cost $9.00. He asked to have his photo taken holding his mattress because it’s the first one he’s ever had and he was so proud of it. These kids cry, overwhelmed by their good fortune, if you offer to put them into private school. Unfortunately, there are poor people all over the world, but the poor people I live amongst on the south side of Chicago don’t know the meaning of the word “poor”. I’ll continue to help anyone I can, WHEREVER I can. I only wish I could do more – but the kids who are not only hungry for food but also an education are at the top of my list.

    • 45caliber

      You are doing a good job. I agree with you. The “poor” in the US are VERY wealthy by the standards of other countries and don’t do all that badly here either. When I see a kid wearing $150 sneakers, a $100 jacket and carrying a $250 boom box trying to get his name onto something for “free” Chrismas presents such as an X-box, I really don’t feel all that sorry for them.

  • chuckb

    the generosity of the american people have been trampled on by the world and i believe this generosity has caused the downfall of our nation, we have offered people welfare, education and medicare to the point they expect this as part of the american equation.
    most of these recipients do not appreciate what they are given only demanding more. as they grow in number they are at the point of gaining the majority vote and guess what, they will vote in people like barry soetoro, who himself lives under this same illusion.
    our christian heritage of generosity is destroying not only ourselves, but the country as well. i believe that old adage, “god helps those that help themselves” we need to shut down our borders, remove the people who have come here illegally, then turn out attention to the ones that are truly in need, as in the previous comment, the orphans would be a good start. take voting rights away from the professional welfare recipients and control our voting precincts.

  • Kate8

    Aid to foreign lands provided by Christian churches is taken directly to those in need. It does not get eaten up by government officials.
    This would be the best way to help those people.

    Churches always do a better job with charity, anyway.

    • 45caliber

      Not always. Check out how the World Council of Churches spends the money they get. I’m not sure about now, but most of it was going to various Communist rebel groups in various African countries for many years.

  • Bill Liebler

    Heifer International is a great charity that does what it says with very minimal overhead. They teach to “fish” rather than just feed them one. Going to the website to donate since I always did it through our church at home, but living aboard does not permit that this year. Thanks for pointing out this great organization.

  • Paul

    These days there are so many people in our own country who are without enough food. Try going to a discount grocery store and buy specials on cereal, canned vegetables, canned tuna, ham, chicken, etc. and take it to your local food bank. I’m not talking about out of date food, just not name brand food that is less expensive but every bit as nutritious. For about $40, if you shop carefully, you can donate 8 bags of groceries that will help to feed people in your own county or city. To some this sounds like a hand out instead of a hand up. However, when there is an immediate lack of food that is the first priority. Working on giving a hand up later is secondary to preventing someone from starving today. Just a thought.

    If you’re so inclined, you might look into RAM (Remote Area Medical). This organization provides free medical care to people, many in rural areas, who can’t afford basic care or who may not even have doctors or dentists in their area. If you donate you can choose to have the money focus on only the US, or anywhere in the world where they do work. It’s an almost totally volunteer organization founded by Stan Brock, who starred on the “Wild Kingdom” TV show. http://www.ramusa.org

    • 45caliber

      This is another good way to give to charities. At least it goes to people rather than to “administration”. I have little use for most organized charities because they spend up to 95% or so of the money on themselves. For instance one of the recent presidents of Unit@d W@y build FIVE hosues for himself, all over a million dollars, with their money. He insisted he needed them because he spent time in each area trying to meet with people who gave a lot of money to charities.

  • WhiteRose

    Great article with a great idea. Getting livestock is important for the near/far future right now instead of $150 tennis shoes.

    Like you, I won’t have much money to spend this holiday, so I’m getting others a book that’s a must read about Americans finally taking a stand against bad government. It’s a must read & others will enjoy it cause it’s about them & us. I recommend it.

    http://www.booksbyoliver.com

    Other gives, might be what I experienced in Burma. They give basic needed items to each other (soap, underarm deodorant, etc.). Sounds somewhat odd, but they include small gifts of food. So, everyone gets something they will use & need. I like the idea so that’s why most will red the book. Good article.

  • s c

    It is right and moral to give. True charity has great power to heal. The American people have always had great compassion for others. The present administration intends to “change” our giving habits (once again, they think only government can know what’s best).
    When false leaders control control the power to “give,” giving becomes a form of theft. Redistributed wealth is wealth that has been STOLEN by government, and does not deserve to be called charity.

    • 45caliber

      S c:

      That is one reason I want the government out of charity giving. Further, a good half of their “charities” such as C@RE are actually hidden government aid to other governments. Further, money given to feed starving people everywhere, regardless of what you hear and see, is actually given to their government to distribute. In most cases, the starving people get just enough of it to show on pictures so you’ll give them more. Most of that free food is kept to feed their armies. There are billions given each year – tax money wasted as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like giving to “charity” so someone else’s army can be stronger.

  • 45caliber

    This is one of the few charities that I will send money to. Most, like Un@ted W@y, spends most of its money on “administration” so it doesn’t get to the people who need it. Our church children collect change from everyone once a month and end up “buying” at least two calves a year. They are saving for a lhama this time.

  • jopa

    We have a program at work with United Way in that our company matches dollar for dollar what we donate.My favorite was always Childrens Hospital.Now my donations are direct rather than through work because of the United Way scandal in which hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out in salary at the top.Also the Salvation Army is a top priority in our contributions.They are always the first on the scene of a disaster and don’t play up to the cameras like the Red Cross which I don’t really trust with the donations they receive.But thats another story.

  • Brant Clore

    Do you think the world will come to our aid if we need them? Beware the folly of clutching serpents in your breast. Re-instate practice of the Monroe Doctrine and leave foreign aid to private charity.

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