There are plenty of political holiday gift giving lists this time of year — some just can’t resist the Hillary Nutcracker and I’m sure the George W. Bush ‘Miss Me Yet?’ coffee mug are always good for a laugh. But I hesitate to spend too much money on the joke gifts in these economic times when there are better ways to use any extra money. Some ways are small gestures to just spread a little kindness world, and others go a bit further.
If you’re still looking for some last-minute ideas to spread a little goodness in the world, here are a few I like:
1. Kiva is one my favorite groups to contribute money to. What we might consider a small donation — just $25 — can go such a long way in other parts of the world in helping women get micro-loans to start businesses that will support their families.
2. K.I.N.D. — Kids in Need of Desks is a UNICEF program being touted by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. For $48, UNICEF will provide schools in Malawi with a desk that seats two children. O’Donnell is even using his cause to tweak Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter who claim that conservatives are more generous with their charitable giving than liberals. I’m looking forward to O’Donnell keeping us up to date on whether these two conservative millionaires have it in them to pony up a little money so African children don’t have to sit on dirt floors when they go to school.
3. Charity: Water — I take clear drinking water for granted pretty much every day, though I wasn’t happy to learn this week that the D.C. area may have it’s own Erin Brockovich moment on its hands. But at least I can put a filter on my tap or, as non-politically correct as it is, I can buy bottled water if I want it. For millions in the world, clean drinking water is a luxury. Charity: Water is an organization dedicated to providing those millions with the clean water they need not only for drinking, but also to help communities economically.
4. Nothing But Nets — $10 can help prevent the spread of malaria by providing children and their families with netting to keep malaria-spreading mosquitoes at bay.
5. Half the Sky — This isn’t the organization associated with the great book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This Half the Sky was around long before and is an organization close to my heart. Their mission is to help provide individualized care and education for the many orphaned girls in China who do not find adoptive families.
I know there are many, many worthy organizations we could all give a little extra money to this holiday season. These are just a few of the ones I like this year.