12 Ways of Christmas Giving, page 2


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Contribute to food pantries or volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels

Kumler Food PantryThe holiday season always brings additional demands for feeding individuals and families. Food pantries are inundated with requests for assistance. Contact the local food pantry and see what the high demand items are and focus your attention on providing a week’s supply of that item.

Additionally, the elderly and those that live alone depend on others to bring hot, nutritious meals to their homes.
In some areas, Meals on Wheels close for the holidays and this would provide an opportunity for a church to “fill the gap” with a holiday meal for those that are alone and need one. The human interaction with the folks delivering the meals is priceless.



Angel Tree or Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Shoebox

This Christmas, 1.7 million children will have a parent in prison. Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, seeks to reconcile prisoners and their families to God and to each other through the delivery of Christmas gifts and the Gospel message.
Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas ChildAngels help prisoners give gifts to their children, along with reassurance of their love and God’s love.
Samaritan’s Purse, an international aid organization , through Operation Christmas Child, provided 8 million shoeboxes full of toys for children last Christmas.
The organization has a very organized way of collecting the boxes and then sending them around the world. You can also use EZ Give a simple, convenient way to make your shoe box donation online by using a credit or debit card, eliminating the need to place a check inside the box.
After completing your donation, you will be able to print out special EZ Give shoe box labels included in your e-mail receipt that indicate you have made your donation online rather than placing it inside your shoe box gift.

Purchase Fair Trade items for gifts

Fair Trade ChocolateEqual Exchange, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) of the United Methodist Church have partnered to raise awareness about Fair Trade.
Fairly traded products provide small-scale farmers a fair living wage and an opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty. The three organizations have created an educational resource to increase awareness of the UMCOR Coffee Project and the need to advocate with our wallets and voices for better working conditions and prices for cocoa farmers throughout the world.
Fair Trade items also are monitored to ensure no child labor or forced labor was used; that it was bough directly from a democratically-controlled cooperative of small scale farmers and that the farmers are paid enough money to support their families with food, education and other essentials.
Churches may want to consider holding a Free Trade Market that would include only those items purchased through UMCOR’s Coffee Project.
For more information, visit: www.umcorcoffee.org


Heifer Project Living Gift

Heifer Project Living GiftHeifer International has a gift for every price range through its living gift program.
A Living Gift purchases an income-producing animals like goats, bees,
chicks and heifers. The animals go to hungry, rural families working to improve their lives.
HPI also provides technical training in care of the animals and in enhancing the environment. Each Market gift gives over and over again. You honor a friend or loved one with an attractive card stating your gift. You empower an impoverished family with an animal and training in its care. That family shares its knowledge and the animal’s first offspring with
another family. And that family shares. And the next. And the next. In all this, you may find a gift as well—a gift of peace, a gift of time, a gift of gratitude that there is abundance to share.




Society of St. Andrew's Alternative Christmas Card

Society of St. Andrew's 2010 Christmas CardThe Society of St. Andrew is a Christian hunger ministry that salvages fresh produce and delivers it to soup kitchens and food banks across the United States.
Each $12 gift donation to the Society of St. Andrew provides about 600 servings of fresh, nutritious food to America’s hungry families. The extraordinary popularity of this program continues to grow, providing more and more servings of fresh food to the hungry every year. It’s such a sincere and loving way to feed the hungry and honor special people in your life. And when you do, each person you so honor will receive our exclusive Christmas Gift Donation Card announcing your generous gift in their name.



Purchase items from the Twice Giving Gift Shop at the Midwest Mission Distribution Center

Twice Giving Gift ShopThe gift shop has items that were made by Third World artisans.
Your purchase provides a standard of living for them and their families as well as supporting the Midwest Mission Distribution Center that provides a vital ministry of assisting UMCOR in disaster relief as well as shipping items around the world.

Imagine No Malaria 

Imagine No Malaria logoMalaria is a global health problem affecting more than 500 million and killing more than 1 million every year.
When The United Methodist Church began with Nothing But Nets, a child died of malaria every 30 seconds. There has been some success, but more needs to be done.
The United Methodist Church has joined with other partners with the goal of eradicating malaria by 2015 in an effort called Imagine No Malaria.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, in his episcopal address at the 2010 annual conference, challenge IGRC congregations to raise $3.5 million for this effort.
Plans are underway to roll out the campaign in 2011, but you can get a head start.
Contribute to Advance Special #3021190 and place it in the offering plate at church. Your church will get credit for this giving and you will save a life with every $10 you give.

GBGM Well Project

Fresh water from an UMCOR wellMany people have no clean drinking water. They must walk miles every day to get contaminated water from a stream. While most people in the United States can scarcely imagine that reality, globally, it's daily life for one billion people. And it's a harsh reality for children who die--one every 15 seconds--from waterborne illnesses.
"Diarrhea is the largest hurdle a small child in a developing country has to overcome. It's more prevalent than AIDS, or tuberculosis, or malaria; 2.2 million people--mostly children--die from an affliction that to most Westerners is the result of bad take-out food." So states Rose George, author of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste, citing a UNICEF statistic.
Clean water can improve sanitation and raise the quality of life for the communities that receive them.
Gifts can be designated to a particular geographic region of the donor’s choice.

Partnership in Liberia

The Illinois Great Rivers Conference has made a major commitment to the rebuilding of war-torn Liberia. Much of the conference’s efforts have been in three major areas – scholarships for students, rebuilding of churches and a hospital and pastor’s salaries.
A scholarship can range from $50 for elementary students up to $150 for high school students. The average pastor’s salary does not provide enough income to buy a month’s supply of rice for a family of four.
Visit www.igrc.org/liberia and download information on your district’s partner districts in Liberia.

Volunteer for a local or global mission project or sponsor someone else

One of the best ways to understand the breadth and reach of The United Methodist Church is to take part in a mission project.
Mission opportunities can be found on the IGRC website. There one will find both missions within the conference, the United States and globally.
If health makes it impossible to participate, consider sponsoring someone else who may not have the financial resources otherwise. Studies have shown that young people engage missions through hands-on experiences and your sponsorship is an investment in their faith formation.

Investing in future leaders through United Methodist Student Day  

It is no accident that United Methodist Student Day falls near or during Advent. As one is considering additional giving, make an offering to United Methodist Student Day, one of the six General Church offerings.
United Methodist Student Day funds the scholarships and loans administered through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
As the formation of spiritual leaders is a priority of the church, funds are necessary to provide education to those future leaders.
Last year, more than 1,000 students were turned away because of a lack of funding.
For more information, visit: www.umcgiving.org, click Special Sundays from the left-hand menu and then select United Methodist Student Day. Online donations are possible.

UMCOR Disaster Response

The United Methodist Committee on Relief are widely respected because they take a long-term approach to disaster response and assistance.
At any given time, UMCOR is stationed throughout the world tending to the needs of persons devastated by disaster.
Visit www.umcor.org and select one of the current emergencies from the upper right-hand corner. Your entire donation will go to its intended destination.