In This Season of Giving …
A number of years ago, John and I decided to simplify our Christmas gift giving. Our siblings are all successful adults, who live in nice houses filled with lovely things. They are able to purchase pretty well anything they need whenever they need it. Trying to find special and meaningful gifts on a tight budget that also allowed for shipping them to distant parts of Canada and the USA seemed so overwhelming. Then we discovered ELCA Good Gifts.
ELCA Good Gifts provides more than 50 different gift-giving options that grow the church, fight hunger and transform lives. These gifts, starting at just $10, provide direct support for the church-wide ministries of the ELCA. Our gifts support projects in 83 countries about the globe. These include literacy training and education, anti-hunger programs, refugee support, health care, programs designed to enable families to become self-supporting, and more. More than 90% of your donation goes directly to program support in the areas of greatest need.
Our Advent tree in the Narthex is decorated with ELCA Good Gifts ornaments and will remain up through the Advent and Christmas seasons. You are invited to select an ornament (or several) and make a donation to St. Stephen’s (write “ELCA Good Gifts” on the memo line). Take the ornament(s) home as a reminder of your gift, or, you can do as John and I intend to do, send the ornaments to our siblings letting them know that we’re honoring them by supporting good work in their names.
If you prefer to purchase more traditional gifts for your loved ones, you can still provide life-changing opportunity for marginalized artisans, farmers, and their families around the world by purchasing Fair Trade Gifts from SERRV on Sunday, December 10. Shop for beautiful handmade gifts for your family and friends: chocolate bars, jewelry, scarves, purses, baskets, puzzle boxes, nativity sets, onyx sculptures, leather banks, and many other items.
Through your purchase of fair trade gifts, artisans in 25 countries are lifted out of poverty. They are given a voice and treated with respect. They can earn a fair income, send their children to school, learn new skills, and develop community projects like water wells and medical clinics. Remember to bring cash or a check.
In this season of giving, consider giving a double blessing (1) to your loved ones, and (2) to those who struggle for so many of the things we take for granted.