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A hope note

Lately, I’ve been the beneficiary of some unusual, thoughtful and thought-provoking gifts.
I received a letter from a friend in Nashville, Tenn., stating that a cash donation had been given in my name to Nashville’s Table. Nashville’s Table collects excess food from restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools and grocery stores and distributes the food at no cost to agencies serving the hungry, needy and homeless.
A couple I married last year (who also gave me a nice honorarium!) wrote to say that they had donated money in my name to Heifer International, an international organization that helps fight hunger and care for the earth through the donation of animals to families in need.
Part of their donation bought a starter flock of ducklings for a family in Xiang Qian, China. Selling eggs and ducks will in a relatively short time enable that family to triple their income. Another portion of the newlyweds’ gift bought a beehive, complete with box and beekeeping training, for a family in El Salvador. Income from honey, beeswax and pollen will give them a good livelihood.
I think of the past Christmas season and the untold billions of dollars spent on obligatory gifts that were unneeded, went unappreciated, will be re-gifted or all of the above. What a waste in a world where billions of human beings are struggling to survive, where the gift of a beehive or a flock of ducks would be the best gift ever.
It takes courage and conviction and the vision of a saner world for a family to buck the culture, ‘unplug the Christmas machine’ and begin a more humane tradition. The kind of people who give ducklings to a family in China, next thing you know, will be taking up yoga and hugging trees.