Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gift Ideas for Kids: Six Geese A Laying — and Bumblebees, Llamas, and A Manatee

For kids — or for the kid in all of us — these animal-oriented gifts support good causes and are pretty cool to boot.

Jimmy Buffet’s Save the Manatee Club sponsors Adopt-A-Manatee, which is lots of fun since it allows one to choose the manatee from among photos and profiles (Floyd in Blue Springs, FL, is my personal favorite). Adoptors receive a photo of their manatee, an adoption certificate, and quarterly updates on the manatee’s progress. This is a fun and engaging way to help support one of Florida’s endangered species.

Heifer International provides animals to impoverished families worldwide as a bridge to self-sufficiency. A beehive can generate honey, pollen, and beeswax for sale. A llama provides transportation as well as fleece that can be used to weave blankets and ponchos (for home use or for sale). A flock of chicks will grow up to provide eggs enough to feed a family, with surplus for sale or barter. I was especially pleased to see Heifer now offers a “buy a share” option for some of the more expensive animals. So if a $250 water buffalo is beyond the budget, one has the option of buying a share in a water buffalo for $25. Do note that some of the Heifer International animals are meant to be used after breeding as “protein sources” — i.e., to be eaten — which may upset some children. To avoid this choose honeybees or one of the mammals designated as a milk or labor source with lower possibility of ending up as dinner.

Today’s mitzvah: Consider a fun charitable gift for a child in your life (or the child within!).

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