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Christmas Giving Redux

Well, it’s now a mere ten days until Christmas so I thought I would thrown out a brief reminder of the challenge I issued last month.  I won’t go through the whole spiel again, but I would like to once again encourage you to find creative ways to give ethically this Christmas season and to let the rest of us know about it as a comment on this post if you are so inclined.

One idea worth considering is a MEDA project in the Ukraine called SUPPER (Southeast Ukraine Planting for Prosperity and Economic Rejuvenation).  This is a region which has immensely productive soil but which has nonetheless been unable to take advantage of this fertility in a post-communist era.  In the ten years following the fall of communism, production of grains, fruits, and vegetables fell by 50-80% and poverty was rampant.  Farmers have been unable to make the transition from collective farming to private farming on the five hectare plots given to them when the state farms broke up.

Enter MEDA who, in partnership with the the Canadian  International Development Agency (CIDA—whew, I’m getting acronym-weary!), has committed to assist farmers in Crimea and Southern Zaporizhzhia in increasing production, forging market links, and giving access to credit.  Farmers in this region will receive training in using new technologies, and will be mentored in business skills to help them sell their products at a profit.  The immediate goal is to help 5000 farmers and agribusinesses increase their capacity and incomes.  The long-term goal is to restore hope for a people who have lived through decades of poverty and despair because of decisions beyond their control.

This is just one potential option among many, one example of how our giving can make a positive difference in the lives of our global neighbours.  It is an example of how Christians can be bearers of good news to a world which continues to need good news.  It is a concrete expression of allegiance to the God of Mary’s magnificat, who “has filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:53).

May our giving reflect the generosity, compassion, and hope of Emmanuel this Christmas.

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