A flock of chickens and world peace

By Ryann Kuykendall

Yesterday my children asked me what I want for Christmas. I told them what I always tell them, “I have all I want right here.” My husband wishes that I would tell him what I really want. But what I tell the children is the truth. I live a blessed life. My family is healthy, we love one another and look forward to our future.

It was a friend who first handed me a catalog from Heifer International. Finally I had the perfect idea for a gift my husband could buy me and for me to buy for others. Heifer International provides families across the world with training for how to take care of an animal and the livestock gift. The family then passes on the gift of the animal’s offspring and the knowledge they learned to another family in need. The organization believes peace begins when hunger ends. Since first reading the catalog, my family and I have donated animals in honor of my parents and friends.

This year I am a student speech language pathologist at Gladstone Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. Much to my delight last month at a school meeting, it was announced by the prinicipal that the holiday project for each class is to raise money to contribute to Heifer International. Later in a school bulletin, the good news was reported that each class will have $20 from the money raised for a school fundraiser to get started. More money can be added. Just $20 can buy a flock of chickens, ducks or geese. It is also possible to buy a share of a larger animal like a share of a llama or two shares of a goat or a pig.

I know from personal experience what a difference their fundraising will make. In the spring of 2006, I traveled to San Lucas, Guatemala to take part in a service project. One afternoon our group took a trip to the coffee fields, the reforestation program and to a little hut with cages of rabbits quietly munching on fresh green lettuce and sipping on their water bottles. It was one of the most adorable sights I have ever seen.

Despite their innate cuteness the older rabbits would soon be a source of protein for a family. The younger rabbits would grow to have babies of their own and thus beginning the cycle again. In the meantime their waste would be used as fertilizer. Some rabbits would be given to families in the area to start their own rabbit farm. This is a model example of Heifer International. The animals live a peaceful life and the family that takes care of them benefits in many ways. The family no longer remains dependent on other to provide nutritious food. They have a steady source of income. Most importantly they have a future and the best gift of all, hope.

There are other similar organizations and people that make a true difference. The point is not the amount of money you are able to give but that you do give your gifts and talents. These benevolent organizations and people remind me of the passage from Matthew 25 verse 40, “’Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Heifer International
http://www.heifer.org

Homeboy Industries
http://www.homeboy-industries.org

Sangre de Cristo Health Project
http://www.proyecto-de-salud-guatemala.org/about.htm

Local projects to consider can be found in our links.

Also, take at look at KC Companies of Conscience

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