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Holiday Gift Giving Goes Alternative

Berea College and community organizers held an Alternate Christmas gift event at Union Church.

The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping begins on Black Friday. People rush to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, and they try to find it for the least amount of money. But in this season of giving, when you could give someone some gift that would be repackaged or put on a shelf and forgotten about, why not give them a gift that means something. This would be a gift that not only means something to just the person you do this for, but it means something to the world and a whole different family struggling through hard times. This gift would be what would give them a new start in life, and a way to survive when hope is often thinly spread. This is an opportunity to give an Alternative Gift.

An Alternative Gift is a gift in which you donate to an organization of your choice in the name of a loved one. Give a cow to a family in Africa or a chicken. Donate to an organization that works towards peace or environmental well being. Just recently, Berea College hosted an Alternative Gift market giving the opportunity for Berea students and citizens could purchase one of these life changing gifts. Also before and after the Christmas Concert there was an Alternative Gift Market in the basement of Union Church.

Imagine now, you see a small child living in India at the bottom of the caste system. He wants more than anything to go to school, and break away from the life that he has lived for so long. Like so many he wants to make something of himself. Unfortunately, his family cannot afford to send him to school, he cannot even read. What has the world to give but what his family has received for their whole lives. But by the kindness of some people, a new program is starting in his village. They bring books and they are founding a school. There is not tuition here, much like our beloved Berea College. Here is his chance, he can change the way his life has been.

Now imagine there is a child in a third world country in Africa. His family can barely make it through the day. Working for hours upon hours, his family is weak and can barely produce enough food for a meal a day. His stomach is tight with hunger, and his body tired from hours of work. He was dealt a rough starting hand in life, but one day a group of people bring him a small flock of chickens. This is not just a meal for one night, but an opportunity for his family. The chickens can be raised and their eggs collected for food and sell. Their droppings could be used for fertilizer for his garden to raise food for his family and their offspring sold. This is a chance for his family to start living in a better way, he can now afford food and better clothing, thanks to an Alternative Gift given by someone dealt a better hand.

Seeing now how an Alternative Gift can change a personís life for the better. Giving in the name of a person that you know would appreciate this gift of opportunity, is no doubt a satisfying event. Berea College is one known for its generosity and offered Alternative Gift workshops showcasing the many different programs, and by contacting Oxfam you can have the chance to donate for a loved one this Christmas time. A twenty dollar donation to a program like Heifer can purchase a flock of poultry, and twenty dollars to World Vision can provide malaria prevention for an entire family and twenty-five can give a child a backpack full of supplies for school. And for a bigger gift 120 can buy a sheep for wool from Heifer. You donation matters so see Oxfam now and give a gift that keeps on giving.

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