Some days I love to feel sorry for myself. I whine and complain because things aren’t going my way. Because I need new tires for my car, or the tractor ran out of gas, or the dishwasher is leaving the dishes spotted and I have to re-scrub them all by hand.
And then I look out the kitchen window at the chickens scratching in the dirt, I look at the milk pail waiting to be filled with delicious, fresh goat milk. I look at the tiny seedlings that will be this years vegetables. I brush my hands along the shiny jars of tomato sauce, pickles, jams, jellies and maple syrup that we canned. The fridge is full, the pantry is full and our bellies are full. Life is full and good.
Some people in this world aren’t living a life as full as our own. Why we have been blessed while others live without, is something I’ll never understand. But none-the-less it’s true. Here at Iron Oak Farm we try to live simply. Small amounts of everyday joy are our goal. Joy in our work, joy in the chores, joy in the beauty of nature, and our farm. Joy in peace of mind and relative safety. Knowing where our next meal will come from, security, peace, and freedoms.
Last Christmas, Zach and I as a couple, made a decision to forgo expensive gifts to one another, and instead decided to help a family in need. We wanted to give even a fraction of the joy that we have. I was in Family Christian Stores looking for some advent candles when I learned about World Vision.
Here is their mission statement:
“World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.”
|Photo Credit: World Vision|
The thing I really like about World Vision is that you have a choice in the type of charity that you donate to. Your gift can be very specific and is based on education and solving long term community problems not just donating, donating, donating. You can help children in the United States, you can help build schools, sponsor a child, help build a well, and many others. My favorite, and the option that we decided to go with is the gift of livestock.
I think this was just about the coolest thing ever! Helping children through the gift of chickens, goats, pigs, rabbits and other animals. We decided to give the gift of 2 chickens and a goat. The goat provides nourishing milk, cheese and other dairy products that can feed a family, or the family can sell these products to purchase necessities like school books and medicine. The manure form the goats and chickens acts as fertilizer to improve gardens and crops. The chickens provide meat and eggs and upon receiving their gift, the family agrees to share the offspring of the animals with the community. It’s very exponential and sustainable. Here is a video of how one family benefited from their gift of chickens.
I was apprehensive about sharing our experience as I believe that charitable acts should be done with humility and humbleness, but after one of our readers brought another, similar organization, Global Giving to our attention and asked us to share these organizations with our readers, I decided that perhaps more good could come from me sharing than keeping it to myself.
The second organization Global Giving is one I was not familiar with. I spent some time on Charity Navigator, a site designed to help people choose a charity and feel confident about where their money is going and Global Giving got very high marks: 4 out of 4 stars overall, in Financial a 64.14 out of 70, and 70 out of 70 in Accountability and transparency.
|Photo Credit: Global Giving|
The particular charity that our reader brought to our attention was a Sustainable Chicken Farm for Guatemalan Women. These women have endured 36 years of civil war and are the victims of poverty and torture. The chickens provide them with food, income, security and a hope to establish a brighter future for other women and their children.
I hope that you will spend some time reading through these organizations. Even if it’s not something you are able to donate to, sharing and spreading the word is helpful as well. Thank you.