The best Christmas gifts!

Every year around the holidays we start to feel extra thankful for our healthy families and warm and cozy homes. 

The fact that our children can go to bed at night with a full belly and a bath is something we should never take for granted... Sadly, people often do. 

What better time to give to of our hearts and wallets then Christmas? As we are out walking through the craziness of the malls and searching for more silly stocking stuffers that our kids will just throw in a drawer somewhere.... Your mind may wander into thoughts of what you can do this year that would be really meaningful to someone else. 

If you are looking for something that will make you feel really good this Christmas, here are a few of our favorite charities that help other beings on this earth we all share. 

1. Charity Water

One of the nearest and dearest organizations to our hearts is Charity Water. Our families have been long time supporters of this group and it is so amazing to see what they have accomplished over the years. 

Water is another thing most of us take for granted... And we are not talking about letting our lawns go brown, or trying to take a 10 minute shower. Charity Water addresses a major global problem. 

"Most of us have never really been thirsty. We've never had to leave our houses and walk five miles to fetch water. We simply turn on the tap, and water comes out. Clean. Yet there are 663 million people on the planet who don't have clean water."

663 million people in the world live without clean water.1

That’s nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide. Or, twice the population of the United States. The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family. Not only does walking for water keep kids out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick.

But access to clean water means education, income and health - especially for women and kids.

We urge you to give the gift of clean water to someone today... Just $15 can help more then you know. 

 

Mercy for animals is an amazing organization that works to protect animals from needless cruelty and suffering while also educating people on the realities of factory farming. 

Now, you may not be a vegan... Or even a vegetarian. In fact, We ourselves are a mixed family... While Erin is a vegan, Mieke is a pescatarian. 

But hopefully, most compassionate people can agree that no beings on earth should ever be mistreated, abused and tortured.  

Many carnivores are outraged when a hunter shoots a lion or a Orca whale is forced into small confined areas... Of course it is horrible and tragic that these things happen to these majestic creatures... But even though a pig is less majestic, be just as outraged by the treatment that sweet humble animal receives. 

If your heartstrings are pulled by the plight of endless thousands of animals, please give to Mercy for Animals. 

The work that this organization is doing is working. This is something we took from their website. 

The Big Picture

In the last 10 years, the tide has turned towards compassion for farmed animals. Over the past decade:

  • Average American meat consumption has dropped by 10 percent
  • The number of Americans who are vegetarian or vegan has risen to 7 percent.
  • The retail market for vegetarian foods has doubled to $1.6 billion
  • The number of states with laws banning veal crates, gestation crates, or battery cages has risen from one to 10.
  • Dozens of the largest supermarkets, restaurant chains, and foodservice companies have pledged to remove crates or cages from their supply chains.

You can give back in your very own community. In the United States we have a Women's Shelter in almost every city and town. Use this link: Shelters: to find a local shelter in your neighborhood. 

Call your local shelter and ask about programs for holiday gifting. Many places have programs where you can "adopt" a family and fill their wish lists, or just give a contribution to help the shelter support the families that use them all year long. 

As women and especially as mothers it is heart breaking to think how frightened these families must be to find themselves without a place to call home. Be it a result of domestic violence or just someone who is down on their luck, you can make a families holiday dreams come true. 

Here are some stats that may blow your mind. 

 

Domestic Violence

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • It is estimated that 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. 
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence. 
  • 95% of men who physically abuse their partners also psychologically abuse them.
  • Women who earn 65% or more of their households' income are more likely to be psychologically abused.

 

Homeless- The Big Picture
While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States, particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent, that is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing.

By the numbers:

  • In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States.
  • Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and
  • 358,422 were individuals.
  • About 15 percent of the homeless population - 83,170 - are considered "chronically homeless” individuals.
  • About 2 percent - 13,105 - are considered "chronically homeless” people in families.
  • About 8 percent of homeless people- 47,725 - are veterans.

 

This year be thankful for all the love, health and joy that you are able to share with the people in your life. Reach inside your heart and give so that many others can share in the magic of this season. 

XOXO- TWH