December 08, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | ANN staff

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is offering donors the chance to purchase Christmas gifts for those in need, an action that can be life-changing for recipients and provide a sustainable source of income to feed a family or send kids to school.

One of the gifts in ADRA’s Really Useful Gift Catalog is the gift of a goat, which can support a girl’s tuition for school. There are 36 gifts in this year’s catalog.

ADRA’s Really Useful Gift Catalog features 36 gifts that include clean water and medical care to disaster relief and helping orphans.

Natalia Lopez-Thismon, ADRA’s associate director of communication, said the gift catalog is a great opportunity for people to give as individuals, but to also give together as groups.

“There’s a sense of community when churches, schools and groups can select another community to give to,” Lopez-Thismon said.

Her favorite gift, she said, is Gift #7, which gives a cow to a blind person. In some countries, a blind person can be a financial strain on the family, but teaching that person to care for the cow gives them purpose and a contribution, and the milk can be sold.

“It’s a gift that touches people who for so long have been marginalized in many countries,” Lopez-Thismon said. “This gift really empowers them to contribute to their family.”

Ashley Eisele, ADRA’s content manager and author of this year’s catalog, said she likes the annual catalog because it puts the projects in the hands of people who want to make an impact.

Eisele says her kids especially like to give the gifts of animals for someone in a developing country, such as chickens and goats. “Something so simple can make such a big difference for someone,” she said.

This year’s catalog tells the story of several previous recipients, including Cynthia in Rwanda. ADRA gave the nine-year-old a goat (Gift #6), which provided milk and money to keep her in school. Her family will soon have three goats, and she hopes the herd will continue to grow.

“I want to have lots of goats so we never have to worry about money,” Cynthia said.

Kopilla in India said she was rescued from being forced into human trafficking after volunteers intercepted her at a train station. Gift #16 helps girls escape from human trafficking.

“I never knew that we could be taken advantage of like this. If I hadn’t been intercepted, my life would have been ruined,” Kopilla said. “Thank God I was rescued and I’m safe.”

This year’s gifts can be found in the ADRA’s Really Useful Gift Catalog, available at or by calling 1-800-242-2372.

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