Choosing a gift from the Best.Gift.Ever catalogue makes a BIG impact on the lives of children in Canada and around the world! Here are just some of the ways these gifts have given hope to children and families this past year.
Mary, a widowed grandmother who cares for her six grandchildren was struggling to provide enough food for them all.
As a farmer, the dry season is especially hard for Mary and her grandchildren: “In the past I’ve had to go begging for cassava cuttings in the village. I begged for vegetables and other greens for my grandchildren from my neighbours.”
Because of kind donors who bought a Best.Gift.Ever, Mary received new farming tools, drought- and disease-resistant seeds for eggplant, Sukuma wiki (collard greens) and other iron-rich vegetables, as well as cassava cuttings. She also began working with a community agricultural specialist who provides training on climate smart farming practices and follow up support in her fields.
“The support I got from Canadians helped me fight hunger in this home,” Mary says. “I am a better farmer now. I’ve grown enough food to both feed my grandchildren and to sell to earn an income.”
Robyn lives with her kokum (grandmother) in Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. The community works together, Elders with youth and children, so that important traditions, language and life skills survive and are passed on.
Because of the generosity of donors who bought the Best.Gift.Ever, Robyn and her kokum Patty are learning and participating in traditional activities within their community. They took cooking classes together, attended cookouts and powwows. Robyn learned all about berries in the community garden. Robyn listened intently as her kokum told her about the buckets needed, how to properly twist the berry from the branch, and how to offer a gift of thanks to the plant before returning home.
“I had a lot of fun,” says Robyn. “We picked two buckets of berries! Now I want to show other kids all the steps of berry picking.”
Tsion and her husband oversee their family farm in Ethiopia which produces wheat, maize and coffee. But their farm is in an area that suffers from long periods of drought that makes their lives incredibly challenging. Relying on rain, and without access to irrigation, their yields were quite low especially in the summer.
“Growing my crops in the summertime is harder,” says Tsion. “I would dig little ditches in between my plants, hoping that rain water would collect and I could use it to nourish my crops. When our vegetables don’t grow, we cannot feed our children enough throughout the year. We also cannot sell our crops, so we have little income and can’t send our children to school.”
Many of Tsion’s worries were alleviated when someone gave the Best.Gift.Ever and a water tap was installed near Tsion’s home. With the water flowing, Tsion also received water-use management training where she learned how to take her turn to maintain the equipment, and irrigate her crops to increase her harvest.
“Since we received the water pump, my crop yields have doubled! I’ve even been able to grow new vegetables like chili peppers and cabbage to sell so I can boost my income.”
Classroom gardens are an essential way to supplement healthy foods for children. José used to help his family in the garden on their family plot. “The land was shared between families and there wasn’t a lot of space to grow different kinds of vegetables.”
But when José began getting his hands in the dirt of his classroom garden thanks to the Best.Gift.Ever, his knowledge grew alongside the seedlings he planted. José and his classmates learned how to care for a garden to ensure that the seeds will turn into healthy and fruitful plants, including how to make a homemade insecticide from garlic, soap and chilis and how to properly irrigate the garden.
“I learned how to prepare soil by properly mixing and fertilizing the dirt so seeds will be nourished. Also, my teachers told us how to transplant seedlings into the garden so they will take once they’re planted.”
And the best part is that José and his classmates get to enjoy all the veggies that they grow by harvesting the crops and turning them into their own salads!
Salome lives with her six children and five-year-old grandson after her husband abandoned her family.
She earned an income by collecting firewood from the nearby forest to sell for money to support her family but it wasn’t enough. Her children had to drop out of school and start helping her at home instead after she couldn’t afford their school fees.
That is, until kind donors bought the Best.Gift.Ever and provided Salome with a goat. She trained on how to keep it healthy and strong and eventually was able to breed her goat into 15. She’s been able to sell them for good income.
Between collecting firewood, growing vegetables on her land, raising goats – and selling boiled maize and beans for breakfast near her home – Salome’s able to pay for her children’s school fees, clothes and other necessities.
The Best.Gift.Ever of school nutrition provides support for school nutrition programs that can help fill the gap for students.
Six-year-old Melan lives with her grandparents who struggled to put food on the table. Often times Melan would go hungry at school and not be able to concentrate.
But then generous donors gave the gift of school meals to help her school implement a school feeding program. Now Melan and her friends receive daily meals.
Moses, Melan’s grandfather, says: “The school feeding program has really helped my children. Their health has improved and so has their performance in school. Children in this community school are very healthy compared to when the program just started.”
Irene’s world was shattered when her father passed away. Her mother Gertrude had almost nothing with which to feed and educate her six children. With Irene’s future hanging in the balance, Gertrude was given the gift of a lifetime – a donation from generous Canadian supporters to grow her garden into a business. Today Irene and her siblings eat well and are excelling in school. When you choose to give to greatest need, you’ll be giving life-changing support to children like Irene who need it most.
“The money I earned from my small gardening helped me buy my children uniforms, books, and other school supplies,” Gertrude says.
Now that’s the Best.Gift.Ever!
Visit bestgiftever.ca or call 1-800-387-1221