What to Give the Loved One Who Has Everything

It’s four days before Christmas—are you ready?

Chances are good you’re still stressing over that handful of people on your gift list. What do you do for the relative who has everything?

Or maybe you’ve been so busy going through your holiday to-do list that you feel disconnected from the “reason for the season.”

We have a solution—our gift catalog.

Feed the Children is helping to create a season of hope for children and families in need at home and around the world with its annual Holiday Gift Catalog. This special edition catalog offers one-of-a-kind gifts that will send a message of hope – and life – to those without life’s essentials. These gifts are a great way to honor special people in your life—people who don’t need another Christmas necktie or pair of socks.

This year’s catalog is filled with Feed the Children’s most popular gifts to help children and families in need just in time for the holidays. These gifts don’t just help improve peoples’ well-being, health and livelihoods. They also bring great joy. They help them know they’re not forgotten. 

No child should have to suffer the pain of hunger and poverty, so the Holiday Gift Catalog features items that will help children and families fill their pantries, restore their lives and begin the holiday season with renewed hope for the future.

You can check out the full catalog here, or let us do the work for you—here are our top seven gifts that can provide life-changing hope, all under $100.

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1. Provide one chicken for $14.

A chicken means fresh eggs and meat for international families to eat. The eggs and meat can also be sold to neighbors or in markets throughout each country. Purchase here.

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2. Provide one goat for $79.

Goats are a source of meat and milk for families globally, providing much-needed nourishment, and their offspring can be sold to generate income to help a family overcome poverty. Purchase here.

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3. Help feed school children in Kenya with a traditional meal of Githeri (corn and beans) for $22.

Feed the Children serves meals to 137,410 school-aged children in more than 170 schools. Your gift will help children thrive physically and mentally. Purchase here.

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4. Provide water purification tablets for two families for one year for $29.

Even clean water can become contaminated while being carried home or stored for later use. These tablets are one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent diarrhea and other waterborne health issues greatly affecting international countries. Purchase here.

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5. Provide one food box, one essential box, and one holiday turkey for $57.

Families in the U.S. will receive a 25-pound food box, a 10-pound box of basic essentials and a 10- to 12-pound frozen turkey to help them celebrate the holidays. Purchase here.

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6. Equip a child with a backpack and school supplies for $20.

Some children in America don’t have the basic items they need to succeed in school. Each backpack is filled with school supplies, children’s books, hygiene items, and healthy snack food. Purchase here.

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7. Provide one food box and one essentials box for $38.

This gift will help fight childhood hunger in America by providing much-needed food and other essentials like laundry detergent and shampoo for families in need. Each box supplements a family of four for up to a week. Purchase here.

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“We believe that no child should go to bed hungry in a world where there is plenty of food,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. “But the reality is, millions of boys and girls across the globe face this hardship every day. With this catalog, our donors and supporters are able to bring help and hope to families during the holiday season.”

Get that gift list done so you can enjoy the rest of the holiday! Check our catalog today.

A Well in Malawi: In Celebration of #WorldWaterDay

“Water is life. Children are the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you Feed the Children for investing in our future generation.” -Josophat

Around the world, more than 780 million people lack ready access to clean, safe water. For some, this means traveling many miles for hours each day to fetch water from a remote well. For the people in one village in Malawi, it meant encountering contaminated water once they got there.

While the village had a deep, machine-dug well not far from the community, for more than ten years this well had no cover. People would throw items into the well. Dirt and sand would blow in. People were getting sick.

“My children were greatly affected with the unclean water,” said Irene, mother of two young children. “I would spend weeks in hospital with my first born son because of diarrhea. It was a sorry situation.” At times the women would resort to drawing water from hand-dug wells, but the effects were worse.

The women of the village also came to see the well as a hazard in their midst. It was harrowing just to stand beside it and peer down into it. Children could easily fall in.

For years the people of the village tried makeshift remedies for the exposed well—wood planks, sheets of iron—but they were no match for the fierce wind and elements.

Things are different today.

Last June, Feed the Children helped install a well cover to enable community access to clean and safe water. It was a true partnership—the community provided bricks, a contractor offered expertise, and Feed the Children furnished materials and coordination. Malawi’s Ministry of Water was also involved, offering technical support.

Today the community is enjoying unlimited access to clean and safe water. More than a hundred families fetch water from this well. The well is located close to the Community Based Child Care Centre (CBCC) which hosts 61 children who are also accessing water from the same well. Hospital visits have decreased. Children can learn, grow and be kids.

Parents now have greater peace of mind and the time to focus on other initiatives to improve the community. These programs include Village Savings and Loan groups, helping improve community members’ financial status. A care group program promotes behavior changes at the household level in hygiene and sanitation, nutrition and breastfeeding.

Eunice Maxwell draws water from an unsafe well
Eunice draws water from an unsafe well

“My life has greatly improved, thanks to Feed the Children,” said Eunice, a mother of four. “Because of Feed the Children, my family drinks clean and safe water, and going to fetch water is not a burden for me anymore. I have enough time to do my house chores and also rest. Before, I used to spend long hours at the well just to fetch water.”

This Sunday is World Water Day, and we’re inviting you to celebrate the this community’s success and make that same change possible in other places around the world. Our gift catalog makes it easy to donate.

For the cost of a bottle of water a day, you can provide a water filter kit for a entire family. Does your office have a water cooler? For the same price, you and your co-workers can come together and provide a hand-washing station for a community to help prevent disease. Give today.

Children Giving To Children

goat“Mom, what do you want for Christmas?” he asked.

“A goat,” I replied.

My six-year-old son scrunched his eyes and mouth in confused surprise. Mom wants a goat? Not new slippers, chocolate, or a cookbook?

I laughed, “Not for me, silly. I want to give a goat to another family. Remember the gift catalog I showed you?” I slid it across the table towards him. “Let’s pick some gifts out for children who are hungry today.”

He nodded, and as he flipped through the pages, we giggled at the idea of finding a goat under our Christmas tree.

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My children are like most children. When confronted with a real person in real need, children’s hearts move immediately to help. They give generously and without reservation. But when they no longer see the need, they forget all about it. But are children really so different from adults? We too see catastrophes and are moved to help right away. But as our attention shifts to the Next Big Thing the urgency to relieve someone else’s suffering fades. Do you think about the people who lost everything in the tornadoes in May? What about last year in Hurricane Sandy? I have to confess – I forget.

When we recognized this about ourselves, my husband and I decided we would not longer relegate our giving to whim and impulse. We knew we must make a conscious choice to give and to teach our children to share or we wouldn’t do it. We are wealthy compared to most, glutted with piles of paper, toys, electronics, more paper, more toys, broken electronics we don’t know how to dispose of, and still more paper. We do not need to collect any more stuff; we need to share what we already have.

boy shopping gift catalog

Two years ago, we introduced our children to their first gift catalog. They examined and circled gifts with the same excitement I saw on Black Friday as they pored over sale papers. We talk about how many children don’t have food in their pantry or a bed of their own, let alone the latest toy. We watch a video so they can see how one of these special gifts can change a child’s life. In those moments, my children see how helping another child with basics like food and water is much more important than pursuing the latest release from Apple or Nintendo.

Children are concrete and visual. Flipping through pages of photos and talking about how a goat or set of chickens or seeds or fish nets helps them grasp giving in a way that mailing a check cannot. It also allows them to ask questions that show us parents where their hearts are and just how much they understand.

Lest you think we’re some sort of Norman Rockwell painting, our kids are still kids. Our youngest boy was just 3 the first year we gave a sheep. He drove us crazy for the next month, pestering us about where the sheep was that we ordered. My daughter refuses to give any animals that might be eaten for meat, so she reads every detail and selects her gift with extreme care. In fact, we have trouble agreeing on a single animal to give as a family.

boy circling item in gift catalog

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and our family will begin this year’s negotiations over Feed the Children’s new gift catalog. Most likely, we will choose a variety of items to satisfy everyone in our family, and we will choose a few gifts to give in honor of another family member, in lieu of more unnecessary stuff.

How will you observe Giving Tuesday? And how do you (or did you) teach the children in your life about the joy of giving? Please share your ideas in the comments. 

Joy Bennett is Director for Social Engagement at Feed the Children.