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“Living Gifts”: The Ten Thousand Villages Program That Keeps On Giving

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Ten Thousand 1If you find yourself in the charitable spirit during the holidays, you can give the gift of sustainability.

From now until the end of the year, Ten Thousand Villages — the oldest and largest Fair Trade organization in North America with an online presence and a 48-store network throughout the continent — has a number of beneficiaries that will stretch your dollar should you choose to purchase a gift or donate.

For example, a $40 gift will buy four bags of cement that will be used to construct a sand dam in Tanzania, helping to provide clean and accessible water for local communities.

A $25 gift of empowerment will provide soap-making training for former Bangladesh sex workers, and an additional $6 will provide the natural oil and fresh herb soap materials.

Feeling especially generous? For $350, you can provide a “farmyard” that includes the gift of small livestock and training for Kenya families, while a single goat costs $35.

Ten Thousand 2You can even “pair” gifts: While $300 will buy an education for an impoverished child, another $8 will give them a handmade paper journal from India.

Celebrating its 65th anniversary, Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit program of the Mennonite Central Committee first founded in 1946 by Edna Ruth Byler.

A member of the World Fair Trade Organization, a coalition of handicraft and agricultural producers, Ten Thousand Villages has raised over $5 million in donations since pairing with the Mennonite Central Committee in 2003.

These “commerce with a conscience” items can be purchased by individuals, groups or corporations, and tax receipts are available.

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