And now, for something completely different.

Waiting for dinner the other night, my wife and I were entertaining each other with items from a local very-small-town paper, but this is the one we talked about a lot:

“Want to give a meaningful gift that won’t be forgotten or stashed away after the holidays?

Heifer International, an organization working to fight hunger worldwide has a solution: livestock.

By donating a sheep, cow or any other farm animal in honor of a loved one through Heifer International, people can help impoverished families get the resources they need to get out of poverty and become self-reliant.

The farm animals provided by Heifer International give families wool, milk, eggs, transportation and other necessities. Families can sell their surplus products and use the money for school supplies, medicine, farming supplies, and housing improvements.

A goat, for example, can supply a family with several quarts of milk each day. Extra milk can be sold by the family or made into cheese, butter or yogurt.

Heifer International also provides Llamas, water buffalos, heifers, chicks, ducks, geese and hives of honeybees – to name a few. For more information, visit www.Heifer.org…”

That’s not something you read every day. I’m not sure about the “…in honor of a loved one..” thing, but suspect it’s a holidays appeal, and it doesn’t detract from the overall effort.

From their website:

Bringing an End to World Hunger Through Unimaginable Blessings

Today, millions of people who were once hungry will be nourished by milk, eggs and fresh vegetables.self-reliance

Families who for generations knew only poverty will be building new homes and starting businesses.

Children who once headed out to the fields to do backbreaking work will be heading into schoolrooms to learn to read.

And people who never thought they’d be in a position to help someone else will be experiencing the joy of charitable giving.

How is this possible?

With Heifer’s proven approach – almost 60 years in the making – to helping people obtain a sustainable source of food and income

In case you’re wondering, a full heifer is $500, but a heifer-share is $50. Water Buffalo are undervalued, at $250 with Llamas going for $150. You get the picture, and here’s the Gift Page.

This is terrific, and if you’re looking for a way to help people in the underdeveloped world, you could do a lot worse.


  1. Does the hive of honeybees include a couple of protective suits? I’d hate for an act of goodwill to end up causing someone to curse my name.

  2. Hehe. Though I’d hope so, I doubt it.

  3. My husband and I have been doing this for many years through a Christian organization called Partners International. Not only can you donate cows, pigs, sheep, and other livestock, but donations can also be assigned to medical supplies such as antibiotics and vaccines, as well as providing resources to assist those in underdeveloped countries become educated, start businesses, etc. Heifer and Partners and I imagine other similar charities make a genuine difference in the lives of others for amounts of money we in the U.S. would consider inconsequential.

  4. We’ve been giving Heifer “in honor of” gifts — flock of chicks, trio of rabbits (truly a gift that keeps on giving) — to our far-flung adult family members for Christmas for the last couple of years. They don’t need the cheese baskets, holiday wreaths, magazine subscriptions and the like that used to get exchanged by boring rote. In return, we’ve been the adoptive family of whales and other endangered species through environmental groups. Which is fine, but I prefer Heifer International’s direct, down-to-earth, anthropocentric approach. I highly recommend it.

  5. It is a great idea. Heifer Project is an international development NGO, like OXFAM and others and has a church historical affiliation The Heifer’s International organization was hisorically affiliated with the Brethern Church (it is independent in fact) and the rural communities where many Brethern churches remain today reflect the agricultural and self-help interest of this charity.

    As with any charity, the wise philanthropist needs to do a little homework, to find out how efficiently monies given are spent on the livestock program and how much is consumed by the organization on promotion.

  6. Heifer Project is based here in Little Rock, headed up by Win Rockerfeller. We donate annually, and have been out to their training “farm” several times. It is a wonderful organization, with a very good cause. Consider giving. Very little of the monies are consumed by the “corporation”.

  7. I should have said, with some help from Win Rock, he doesn’t actually run the Company.

    Overall, it is a very good organization that actually makes a difference.
    There are so many charities out there, but this one is as legitamate as they come.

  8. I didn’t know it was a Little Rock venture. Cool.
    And, thanks for the info!

  9. What a great idea…great gift that will truly help those in need.

  10. We enthusiastically endorse these guys. I’ve given “animals” or shares for about six years for many major occasions and it’s always been a big hit.

    My favorite was when I was able to send my mom a gift note: “Mom, after years of me getting your goat, this year I got YOU a goat! Happy birthday!”


  11. Here’s more about Heifer. The Arkansas demo farm is in Perryville, near Little Rock, and is fun to visit.