Friday, December 04, 2009

Season's Greenings: Helping Others

Giving is the watchword at this time of year and one of the best gifts you can give is a helping hand to those in need. This is the fourth in a five-part series adapted from an article I wrote for the Nov.-Dec. '09 issue of NW Palate magazine.

John Haines is the Executive Director of Mercy Corps Northwest and leads one of the most successful and innovative microfinance institutions in America, helping low-income entrepreneurs in the Portland metro area (above) by offering loans, financial education, and a variety of technical-assistance programs.

His ideas for sustainable gifts, as you might expect, focus on helping people help themselves, like giving a gift of a Mercy Kit in the recipient’s name. “A Children’s Food Kit helps children eat better to get strong and healthy so they can play, learn, and grow,” he said. “A Children’s Health Kit provides immunization, nutrition, and health education programs to make a lifesaving difference for children, and a Family Garden Kit supports agricultural programs that help families plant and maintain home gardens and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables.”

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Classic Wines Auction Winemaker Dinners pair esteemed Northwest winemakers with gourmet cuisine prepared by regional chefs, with proceeds benefiting local children’s and family charities. The event is scheduled for March 2 through 6 of 2010 and reservations go quickly, so it's best to act soon to have the best selection.

Support your local Northwest food bank with a donation in a recipient’s name and have a direct impact on the lives of people in your community. Many offer more than one way to give, from giving money and donating goods and services, to sharing extra produce. Contact Oregon Food Bank, Northwest Harvest in Washington, or Food Banks Canada.

TisBest Charity Gift Cards are offered by this Seattle-based organization, founded in 2007, and benefit the charity of the recipient’s choice. Choose from a number of national charities, including many that strive to end world hunger—and coming soon is a registry of local charities in Portland and Seattle.

Read Part One: Gifts That Grow, Part Two: Farm to Table, Part Three: Good for the Environment and Part Five: DIY Food & Drink.

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