Give a little bit…

A match made in heaven.

..of a heifer, llama or sheep to a family in need. Heifer International is non-profit organization with nearly 900 ongoing projects in over 50 countries. They teach “environmentally sound agricultural techniques,” help people build and expand small businesses, provide HIV/AIDS education and, instead of just giving money to small communities, they give gifts in the form of livestock. There are several organizations that do this, but Heifer is one of the few that doesn’t just airlift a water buffalo into a village and leave it with a family that’s not equipped to care for it. You might be surprised at the number of non-profits that don’t research what animals are appropriate for specific geographical regions. A cow, for example, needs to drink gallons of water each day, yet some of the organizations (that have come under scrutiny) have delivered cows to areas in extreme drought. It seems obvious, but Heifer recipients are first instructed in animal management, like nutrition and husbandry, and are only given what is appropriate for their environment and what they are able to care for. In Ghana, for example, families underwent months of instruction before 2,000 chickens and 250 beehives, sheep and goats were left in their care.

Check out Heifer’s gift catalog, probably the most unique online shopping you’ll do this season. The price range starts low, $20 for a flocks of chicks, ducks or geese to $500 for a heifer. You can also buy shares of larger animals. Now you just have to decide what animal to match up with each person on your gift list. Is your mother more of a goat, a rabbit or a hive of bees?