Episcopal Relief & Development encourages supporters to “Let Your Light Shine” with Gifts for Life, an alternative giving catalog that offers tangible and meaningful ways to create lasting change this holiday season.
“In preparation for the Christmas season, I have been thinking a great deal about how powerful God’s light can be when we share it with others,” said Betsy Deisroth, Vice President for Advancement for Episcopal Relief & Development. “I'm reminded of a congregation that organized a fundraiser with special lantern walk to prayerfully light the way for storm victims as they faced an uncertain future. To me, that lantern walk is a true expression of everything that Episcopal Relief & Development represents: coming together to help others … and shining a light of hope where darkness has fallen.”
Gifts for Life enables individuals and groups to create lasting change in communities worldwide through the purchase of gifts to support those communities. The catalog features gifts ranging from $12 for mosquito nets to prevent malaria to $5,000 to provide clean water for a village through a well and water treatment as well as the training to maintain the system. Other gifts include special Christmas Gift Packages, disaster relief kits, vocational training and micro-credit loans to enable women to grow their own businesses.
New this year are two products, bikes and sugar beans, inspired by Deisroth’s trip to Zambia last spring. Sugar beans are a high-protein crop that helps to provide a nutritious diet for children. Unlike maize, which is widely planted, sugar beans are drought-resistant and can be grown alongside other crops. Bikes will allow volunteers in rural areas cover greater distances, reach more homes, spend more time with families, work with more energy and even, on occasion, transport people needing additional care.
“A group of young volunteers shared that they travel on foot an hour each way to reach people in rural areas, “ said Deisroth. “Providing bikes is a simple way to help them to shine light in more communities.”
Gifts for Life items can be purchased online at episcopalrelief.org/gifts, and donors can choose to send a customizable e-card or a beautiful printed card to tell the recipient about the life-changing gift made in their honor. Orders can also be made over the phone by calling 1.855.312.4325 or via mail through the instructions on the catalog or brochure. Additionally, supporters can download digital resources such as prayers, bulletin inserts, and an Advent calendar poster from the online Advent Toolkit to help dioceses, congregations or groups plan, construct and host an Advent campaign to support Gifts for Life.