So cheerfully stealing Bryan's holiday tradition, I would like to make a special request this holiday season. If you were thinking of getting me a holiday gift this year - and, given how anti-social I've been the past few years, you probably weren't - please take whatever amount you were planning to spend and donate it to a charity. I have all that I need - and, realistically, most of what I want - but most charities are facing shortages in fund-raising and won't be able to provide for as many people as previous years, let alone all the families that have become impoverished in the past year.
Here are a few charities that I like to support:
Heifer International: http://www.heifer.org/
Give cute animals to needy families, providing a long-term solution to poverty and hunger. As families grow prosperous they pass this gift on to others.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara County: http://www.2ndharvest.net/
One of the local charities I support, they help feed the needy right here in San Jose.
Advancing Native Missions: http://www.adnamis.org/
Works with indigenous missionaries of the world to spread God's Word in their native language, and helping reach out to all the peoples of the world.
Gives loans to entrepreneurs in third-world countries so that can expand their business and improve their standard of living. When they repay their loan, you can use those funds to help someone else! I like that it's literally a gift that can keep on giving.