November 9, 2012

End of Year and Christmas giving - A few options for you to consider!

As the end-of-the-year and Christmas holidays quickly approach, here are a few links for you to check out and see if you're led to participate, give, or help in some way. There are thousands of worthy causes and charities out there to support, so this is just highlighting a few with a christian-focus that have caught my attention as we seek ways to show Christian kindness and generosity... and to serve the least of these in a small way. Some organizations are specific to Canadians or Americans only, but I have made a note of that to help you know where you might fit in. 

*I did a lot of copying/pasting into this post, so the formatting has been hard to get consistent... my apologies!

Here we go:

Gifts of Compassion (Compassion Canada) - Whether or not you sponsor a child through Compassion (I RECOMMEND IT!:)), you can do some Christmas shopping through their Gifts of Compassion catalogue. A few examples of what you can purchase/give are chickens; malaria nets; medical care for moms and babies; books/education; help build a library in a remote village; lots of skills training for moms, dad or teens (computer training, silk screening, sewing, vegetable gardening, etc); help teach a mother to read and write... There are a lot of options with different price tags that range from $8 to $5000!

**American friends - your link is here

Operation Christmas Child - Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on project of Samaritan's Purse that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas - Jesus Christ - God's greatest gift.  Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the message of God’s unconditional love.

Here are a few ideas (like 101 ideas!) for packing a shoebox - great to get you started whether this is your first time or you just need a couple fresh ideas.

**National Collection week for the shoeboxes is Nov 19-25.  For my American friends, it looks like your collection week is Nov 12-19. USA details are here.

ABBA Canada "ABBA Canada exists to raise the banner of God’s call to care for the fatherless. We exist to respond to the biblical call of James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” It is the hope and prayer of this ministry that it will develop awareness, compassion and conviction to minister to orphans, through a variety of different means. Our dream is for every believer to be engaged with helping vulnerable children and we long to see thousands of children around the world cared for through this ministry, and others like it."

Spirit of Adoption Alberta - (started by a friend of a friend... while limited to helping Alberta adoptions, it is a Christian organization and you could help bring a child home to their forever family!) "It is the hope and prayer of Spirit of Adoption Alberta that it will develop awareness, compassion and conviction to minister and provide financial aid to Alberta Residents on their adoptive journey."

Jewels for Jesus Hope Centre - (Ontario based) "JFJ Hope Centre offers support and education related to unplanned pregnancies and parenting struggles in a caring Christian environment.  JFJ Hope Centre Adoption Services provides professional adoption services in a caring Christian environment. "

**For those in the GTA, check out their current "Needs Corner" in their November newsletter - you might be able to fulfill a need!

Safe Families for Children - This is a really cool program that I didn't know existed until this week. Even if it isn't something you can support right now, I think you should take a look around their site to see what they do. :)  "Safe Families for Children is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and Christian organizations designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. Safe Families for Children is an opportunity for volunteers to have a powerful impact in the lives of others while practicing biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need — all from their own home!"

As Our Own - For my American friends, I love this organization but so far only US citizens are  eligible for charitable tax receipts. They do fantastic work with vulnerable children in India:  "There are 44 million vulnerable children living in India. Some live on the streets. Others are enslaved in brothels. Most are poor, hungry, and exploited. Hope is hard to come by."  They have three focuses - Rescue, Aftercare and Prevention.  Please check out AS OUR OWN. 

Lifesong for Orphans - this is also for my American friends if you're looking for a tax receipt. But what a fantastic organization to support! 100% of your Lifesong for Orphans donation goes to directly to care for orphans and their needs. They have several worthy programs worth checking out including -Adoption funding, Orphan care, Foster care, etc.

Pure Charity - One last one for my American friends - check out Pure Charity. It is a brand new concept about redirecting a % what you're already spending day-to-day (think $ spent at Target, Walmart, iTunes, etc) from a personal giving fund to support a project or charity of YOUR choice... tax deductible! Definitely check out the site as they explain it a lot better! :)

Lastly, here are two inner-city missions worthy of your consideration:

"Through Christ's love, we care. We reach out to those who have been passed by. We restore hope. We build community."

The goal of the Mission is to serve Jesus Christ as Lord and Master in faith and through effective stewardship, putting the spirit of Christ into concrete, positive action through well-rounded, spiritual and social services to men, women and children where there is a defined need and as means are provided.

UGM is an urban relief organization based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With eight locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM is positioned to help those who need it most. The heart of the Mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside.

That's my list folks... feel free to add your own charities of interest for others to check out in the comments section. 

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