It is estimated that £2.6 billion is spent each year on unwanted Christmas presents – books that have never leave the bookshelf, toys that never leave their plastic boxes, vouchers that are never spent. For the last 12 years CAFOD has been providing Christmas shoppers with an alternative, with gifts which are more in line with a desire to care for creation and stand in solidarity with the poor.
World Gifts are ethical presents with a conscience. From Emergency water, to a Vegetable garden, to a Solar lamp, there’s a huge diversity in the gifts on offer. From £4,00 to £4,000 your choice is wide. What is guaranteed is that each present will help transform the lives of poor communities and families in developing countries. This year two new gifts have been launched; Help a refugee child, which will give much-needed emotional and educational support to children who have fled war, and a Birth certificate, which enables families to acquire this much needed document.
Once you’ve chosen your gift, the lucky recipient will receive a card – via email or the post – which explains the gift that has been bought in their name. With World Gifts the present drawer won’t get any bigger and there’s no need for awkward regifting. Instead, someone in the developing world will receive the opportunity to live a happier and healthier life.
As well as gifts for friends and family, World Gifts also make a great focal point for parishes and schools wanting to fundraise. Margaret Roper school in Purley fundraises for World Gifts by holding a talent show, ‘Ropers Got Talent’, for students from Year 3-6. From magicians to gymnasts to stand-up comedians, there is a huge variety of acts, all of whom are judged by a panel committee. The money raised from the show is combined with that raised for CAFOD from other fundraising activities across the year and used to buy World Gifts. Excitingly for the children, they are able to build up a ‘virtual village’ with all the gifts they have bought, from vegetable gardens to goats.
“We use the money raised for CAFOD to buy World Gifts as it makes it far more meaningful for the children,” said Headteacher Dermot Mooney. “They can see that their funds are sending a child to school or helping a family to have clean water and it’s very tangible. They like the idea of helping someone going to school because they’re aware that they’re very privileged.”
Lyn Goddard, from St. John Vianney in Bexleyheath, has also encouraged her parish to buy World Gifts. Last year she set up a World Gifts display in the parish, wrote something for the newsletter and made sure there were catalogues for parishioners to take home.
Of World Gifts, Lyn said:
“We’ve all got so much of everything and World Gifts is a way of bringing CAFOD back into the parish after Harvest. The gifts are a way of still showing someone you’re thinking of them at Christmas – because that’s all presents are really – but it’s much better than buying someone another pair of socks to go with the pair you got them last year.
This Christmas, if you want to fill stockings with meaning and presents with heart, then get a CAFOD World Gift. Gifts start from £4 but you must order by tomorrow Friday 15 December to get your present in time for Christmas!