In an effort to earn some more Christmas cash, we recently had a garage sale, which is pretty impressive if you know that we don’t even have a garage. I’d have called it a yard sale, but after a year of “exceptional drought” we don’t have much of a yard either.
I even parted with my service for twelve, hope-chest china. I actually bought this stuff when I was in seventh grade. I was preeeetty hopeful, huh? Now I just hope that someone had a nice Thanksgiving with it. (And I’m thrilled to have this kitchen cabinet space back.)
We spread our sale over two days, a Friday and a Sunday, and got equal traffic both days. We were fortunate that there was a well advertised but not well marked estate sale just a block or so away from us. We actually got some customers that were looking for the other sale.
As the sale started my kids were very excited about the potential funds being added to my Christmas coffers. With each transaction they did the math in their heads to trying to figure how much more mom could afford to spend on each of them. But as the first day ended and we started counting up our earnings we remembered a goal we had set for ourselves the previous year – we wanted to give a significant gift to another family that was struggling.
The kids quickly changed course and decided that we should use our yard sale coinage to bless someone else. We grabbed a catalog that had arrived in our mailbox and started making some new calculations to see what we could afford from its pages. There really weren’t many options and there was a deadline of December 16 to make our decision.
Then I remembered, our own Church does this same thing year round – I did some digging around on their website and found that the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was developed in 1956 to provide humanitarian relief and welfare.
ADRA currently has more than 4,000 workers active year round in 125 countries showing God’s love through compassionate acts of humanitarian service. Did you know that the United States ranks 20th among developed nations in foreign aid spending. I was surprised to learn that. That’s less than half of 1% of the gross national income for the World’s poor. And I have been known to whine about how “we’re always helping everyone else”…
Something else I learned is that my old donated blanket or sweater isn’t always the more cost effective way to go. ADRA’s page says:
These items must be washed, disinfected, sorted, packed and shipped. In the end, the cost of preparing the delivery of a used sweater exceeds the cost of simply buying a new one near the disaster area. Often, unsolicited goods clog transportation routes, hindering needed supplies from gaining clearance at shipping ports. In addition, by the time supplies arrive after this long process of collecting, sorting, and cleaning, the emergency phase of a disaster is usually over. Monetary gifts allow ADRA to immediately purchase specific items that survivors need. Most essential relief goods, such as medicines, temporary shelter, tools, clothing, blankets, and latrines can be purchased locally or in neighboring countries at lower prices. In addition to providing these items quickly, purchasing them locally helps stimulate the economy in the disaster area.
Two of my favorite features on the ADRA website are the Really Useful Gift Catalog and the Kid’s page. The Really Useful Gift Catalog features gifts from $1 and up that will make a difference worldwide. You can choose your gift by program, region or price and specify just where you want your gift to go. The Kid’s Page has puzzles, games, coloring pages, maps, recipes and a place where kids can pack a variety of helpful virtual boxes then just click, the price of your box is added and you can click again to send the box. A little more digging on the Kids In Action page even revealed ADRA’s plan for hosting a yard sale!
So this year for Christmas those difficult to shop for Grandparents are receiving goats. We settled on goats for Tunisia (We could afford two with our yard sale profits.)
Rather than just telling them about the gift we picked up a couple of plastic goats at Hobby Lobby and have wrapped them with a short note of explanation asking them to put the little plastic guy (or hopefully gal) in a prominent place and to remember to pray for her protection, health and purpose as well as to ask for blessings on the family she is serving.
I encourage you to take a look at the options that ADRA offers as you make some of your gift giving decisions this Christmas. ADRA's Really Useful Gift Catalog is an avenue through which you can choose a meaningful gift which will transform lives around the world.
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