We have a choice.
We can choose to spend our holiday shopping dollars to support sweat-shops around the globe, we can fill our homes with the "cheap crap" that breaks before the Christmas decorations are put away, or maybe even worse, it drifts to the bottom of the toy box cluttering up bedrooms and getting stepped on in the middle of the night.
We can choose to get Uncle X the basket of weird meats and Aunt J the tin of odd unmarked chocolates. We can have a plant delivered to Grandma A and an iTunes gift card to Grandpa P. Or we can do something important with those purchasing dollars.
We have a choice.
Because the face of charity is changing. In the past charity was about writing a check, or clicking the credit-card box, sending money to feed the hungry. But all of that is changing. Today one of the best things we can do for the poor is to support their businesses with our purchases.
I have known about this movement for awhile but when I watched this video last month it all clicked into place. If you give someone a fish, they eat for a day, if you teach someone to fish they can feed themselves for the rest of their lives, but if you then go and buy fish from that person you give them a chance to rise up out of poverty, educate their children and employ other people. There are so many organizations that are making it easy for us to help the men and women in emerging nations build sustainable businesses. I want to shine a spotlight on one.
I've written before about Jamie and the work that she and her family are doing to support the orphan crisis in Uganda. They are doing an awesome job of finding ways that we can help the people of Africa support themselves. Jamie co-founded Pearl Ministries and through this ministry we are able to make an impact in the lives of the artists and entrepreneurs of Africa and their families. Through their website Ornaments4Orphans you can purchase Ornaments, Nativities, Stocking Stuffers & Jewelry.
Here are a couple of other resources: Noonday sells jewelry and accessories made by artisans in third world countries. Read more about their mission here. The Compassion Gift Catalog is another cool way to give a charitable gift in honor of a friend or family member.