Gifts That Give Hope

Gifts That Give Hope

Regular readers of my blog know that I often write about people and organizations who dedicate themselves to making a positive difference in the world, creating peaceful, healthy, strong and sustainable communities – whether by promoting peace and justice, respect for diversity, environmental sustainability, high quality education or equal access to basic human needs like nutritious food, clean drinking water and safe shelter.

Well, on Sunday, November 20, 2011, thirty such organizations will be gathered under one roof in Lancaster, PA for the 4th Annual Gifts That Give Hope alternative gift fair.

So, what’s an alternative gift fair? It’s a place to purchase very different types of gifts for the people on your gift-giving list. No more boring sweaters or neckties, books or movies, trinkets or baubles. No more impersonal gift certificates. No more trying to figure out what a loved one might want or need, that they don’t already have. Best of all, no schlepping through the mall or browsing one website after another trying to figure out what gifts to give everyone on your list!

The gifts you purchase at “Gifts That Give Hope” are in the form of donations to local and global non-profit organizations in honor of your loved ones. These are the very BEST kinds of gifts because everyone wins: the non-profit organization receives much-needed donations to continue their work; the clients or beneficiaries of the non-profit’s programs receive help they need; your gift recipients don’t have to utter tactful “thank you’s”, then stand in line at the mall for hours to return unwanted gifts; and YOU get to feel great about doing something truly meaningful and important through your gift-giving.

Here’s a little sampler of some of the gifts you’ll be able to purchase either AT this year’s GTGH Fair or afterward, via online ordering (more about that in a future post!):

sponsorship for a local child with special needs to attend camp through Aaron’s Acres

For many children, summer camp is one of the most memorable experiences of their life. But there are few opportunities for children with special needs to have such an experience. Aaron’s Acres has been working to provide those opportunities for children with special needs in Lancaster, Berks and Dauphin Counties since 1998. At Aaron’s Acres, their philosophy is “All we see are their abilities”.

training for a rescued dog to become a service dog for a wounded Veteran through Central PA Animal Alliance

CPAA’s Helping Hounds program is a new addition to their Hounds of Prison Education (HOPE) initiative, in which men who are incarcerated at the Camp Hill state prison are paired with rescued dogs from CPAA member shelters. The men and dogs work with a professional trainer for 8-12 weeks of intensive training to prepare the dogs to become psychiatric service dogs for veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder. A great article in the Hope Dogs newsletter explains more about how the program works (see page 4)

assistance for a local refugee family to attend English classes through Church World Service – Lancaster

Here’s an awesome 3 minute video that gives a behind the scenes look at what Lancaster’s Church World Service does to help refugee families.

safe shelter for a local victim of domestic violence and their children through Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County.

DVS has been providing comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence in Lancaster County for 35 years, including a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, individual and group counseling, legal advocacy, children’s activities, and outreach work to educate the public about issues of domestic violence. In 2010, DVS won the Benjamin Rush award and was the recipient of a national Mary Kay Foundation grant.

nutritious food and nutrition education for a local family struggling to put food on the table through the Power Packs Project.

The Power Packs Project is a beautiful example of how one person who sees a need in the community and commits to doing something about it can have a tremendous impact. In 2004, Joan Espenshade heard at a school district meeting that local elementary school students were coming to school on Monday mornings with headaches, stomach pains and other signs that they’d gone hungry over the weekends, because their families didn’t have enough money to keep food in the house. Joan and some friends started Power Packs to provide ingredients and recipes for low-cost, nutritious weekend meals, plus additional grocery staples, and nutrition tips for parents of these children. They started with thirteen families at one school, and have grown to serving 500 families (over 2200 individuals) in 21 schools in six school districts across Lancaster County.

a holiday gift for a local child with a parent serving overseas in the military through Operation Homefront of PA and DE.

Operation Homefront strives to provide tangible financial and other assistance and boost the morale of military families, and especially their children, through lengthy and repeated deployments of a family member, and while military family members recover from war injuries. The organization was initially formed after 9/11 and the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then, it has grown into a national nonprofit organization serving military families across the US through local chapters like the Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter.

These are only a FEW of the 30 non-profit organizations that will be at the Gifts That Give Hope fair. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about these organizations and the November 20th fair. (NOTE: if you follow or subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive these updates automatically – see Follow and Subscribe options on right)

But in the meantime, you can get a head start on supporting these organizations and Gifts That Give Hope, while also getting some enlightenment and inspiration for how you might do your own part to make a positive difference in the world.

On Friday, Sept 16, 2011, at 7:00PM, Mike Yankoski, author of Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice, will talk about eight of our most urgent social justice issues and how each of us can make a difference for our neighbors and for people around the world. Tickets to this event are $12 and are available at Oregon Dairy, Zanzibar, Square One Coffee and Sweet Charity Boutique. You can also get in touch with the organizers to obtain tickets via the Gifts That Give Hope Facebook page or the Gifts That Give Hope – Lancaster website

So, get out your calendar, and get both of these events on it:

Zealous Love: An Evening with Mike Yankoski
WHEN: Friday, Sept 16, 2011 at 7:00PM
WHERE: Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601

Gifts That Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair
WHEN: Sunday, November 20, 2011 from 10:00AM – 4:00PM
WHERE: Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601

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Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace sustainability

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