This Year, Give the Gift of Bees

Patrick Rothfuss is not only a wonderful author, he’s a wonderful human being. For (at least) the second year in a row, he has set up a challenge page at Heifer International, a charity that helps families raise themselves out of poverty through sustainable agriculture. Check out Patrick’s blog for more information on how to support this wonderful organization. If you donate through his page, you’ll have the opportunity to win fabulous prizes. Plus, how can you resist an organization that allows you to give the gift of cows, goats, water buffalo and honeybees during this holiday season?

Speaking of giving and the holidays, there are a few more charities that I’d like to promote, while I’m at it. These organizations are among the many that do incredible work year round to help make the world a better place. They’re by no means the only ones deserving of your support, but they’re some of my favorite.

The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, also known as PAWS. PAWS is the largest rescue organization in Philly, and its only no-kill shelter. I have the great good fortune of working with a man who regularly fosters PAWS kittens until they are old enough to be adopted. Last year, over the holidays, I helped take care of some of the kittens for a few days. That someone could look at something as precious as these kittens and simply abandon them is beyond heartbreaking. Don’t you agree?


PAWS needs both monetary support, and they’re always looking for people to adopt and/or foster animals if you happen to be local to the Philadelphia area.

Child’s Play is a fantastic organization started by the good folks at Penny Arcade, which provides new toys to children’s hospitals across the country. You can make an outright donation, or purchase toys from the wish list on amazon and select a hospital where the toys will be sent. It’s basically the charity for gamers, by gamers, so if you’re a gamer (and even if you’re not), check it out!

In a similar vein is an organization that allows teachers to assemble wish lists for their classrooms and lets donors choose (as the name implies) what and where they want to give. For example, you could buy history dvds for a classroom in Arizona or art supplies for a classroom in Maryland. There are many other worthy projects to choose from, and if you happen to be a teacher, you can make your own request as well.

Again, these are just a few of the worthy organizations out there. I’m also a fan of supporting local arts institutions, my schools’ alumni funds, and the Red Cross, among others. To me, the holidays are primarily about friends and family, but they’re also about complete strangers helping each other, just because they can.

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