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Gifts that Give

polar bear near Churchill, MB
polar bear near Churchill, MB

Gifts that Give; Making Christmas Giving Count


When it comes to Christmas, I don’t mind admitting – to myself and others – there are lean years and there are fat years. This year is a lean one. Truth be told, the last few years were also lean – but I made the mistake of thinking I could afford something if I still had room for it on my credit card…which is a significant reason why this year is another lean one. But that, as they say, is another blog for another day.

So, instead of purchasing presents this year, I’m redirecting a portion of what I would have spent on gifts to charities that can leverage my small donation to go a heck of a lot farther than I can.

Here’s where I’m spending my small but sacred Christmas budget this year:

1. Item: Mother and Baby Tetanus Pack; a Unicef Survival Kit

Cost: $25

Description: Tetanus kills a baby every nine minutes. This high-impact gift immunizes mothers, who then pass immunity on to their babies, protecting them against the devastating effects of tetanus. The Kiwanis Eliminate Project will match your gift, doubling its impact on child survival.

Impact: This will provide 355 Tetanus Vaccines


 2. Item: Clean Water Kits; a Unicef Survivial Kit

Cost: $27

Description: Give peace of mind to parents and protection to children by providing kits that include collapsible water containers, soap and water purification tablets – everything needed for safe water collection and hygiene practices to help keep diseases at bay.

Impact: Clean Water Kits for 2 families


3. Item: Adopt a polar bear; World Wildlife Fund Species at Risk Adoption Program

Cost: $40

Description: By symbolically adopting a species at risk, WWF will direct the funds to helping those animals. For the donation, you (or the person you choose) receive a polar bear stuffy, adoption certificate and poster.

Impact: By adopting a polar bear, you’ll help WWF fight climate change and protect a network of special areas critical for their survival.


 4. Item: Adopt a tiger; World Wildlife Fund Species at Risk Adoption Program

Cost: $40

Description: By symbolically adopting a species at risk, WWF will direct the funds to helping those animals. For the donation, you receive a tiger stuffy, adoption certificate and poster.

Impact: By adopting a tiger, you’ll help WWF fight the illegal trade of tiger parts.


photos of bananas

5. Item: Buy a bunch of bananas for chimps!

Cost: $10

Description: Chimpanzees are critically endangered and on the brink of extinction. Make a $10 or more donation to the Jane Goodall Institute to help purchase bananas for sanctuary chimps – and the JCI will send a virtual bunch of bananas to a friend.

Impact: Help feed the 150 hungry chimps at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary


As much as I’ll miss heading to Baby Gap and Winners and all my favourite stores this December, there’s also a part of me that is really relieved I don’t have to…and the planet is probably breathing a sigh of relief, too. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. So maybe, just maybe, my financial constraints are teaching me what Christmas is really about: giving gifts that are desperately needed.

Plus, just as there are are lean years and fat years, so too is there a time to give and a time to receive. And like it or not, I’ll be on the receiving end of the present-giving extravaganza this year 🙂

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakeningthe upcoming book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams and the play, Saviour. Maryanne is the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc

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4 thoughts on “Gifts that Give”

  1. Thank you so much for including us in your blog Mayanne.
    I love that JGI has Champions like you out there.


    Tara Allman
    Manager, Annual Giving & Events
    The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada

  2. This is a great e-mail exchange 🙂

    Hello Maryanne, and thank you so much for your email. We are delighted that you included the Jane Goodall Institute on your list – thank you! The holiday season is an important time for us to rally Canadian support, and we appreciate your support.

    Can I ask why you chose the Jane Goodall Institute? Is there a special reason? I always enjoy hearing about people’s motivations in supporting the Jane Goodall Institute 🙂


    Sandra Pimpao
    Director, Development & Marketing
    The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada

    My answer:

    Hello! I have been a JGI supporter for years. I read Jane Goodall’s book, A Reason for Hope, years ago and have been a strong supporter of the work you do in Africa ever since. I heard Jane speak in Calgary years ago and was so impressed.
    It’s funny but the one thing that Jane said – or wrote – years ago that has always stuck with me is that sometimes we NEED to feel guilty about environmental issues such as species loss, environmental degradation and loss of habitat. She
    said that sometimes guilt can be a good thing because it drives people to care and make changes in their actions.

    That comment has stayed with me and I think now, more than ever, we are going to have tap into that collective feeling of guilt – and instead of pushing it away and refusing to feel guilty for things we supposedly don’t have any control over,
    step up to the plate and take SOME responsibility and admit that yes, we do…even if it is something as small as choosing to donate to a charity instead of buying yet another Baby Gap t-shirt for a kid who already has 20 🙂


  3. Feeding the chimps is an excellent idea. Never heard of that one. A difference can be made with
    ten dollars!

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