Alternative Gift Giving

Written by Sherri Bergmann

Christmas is a favorite time to share God’s love because He first loved us and commands us to love others. This is why, during this most popular time of the year to give gifts, many prefer to give gifts that are meaningful and lasting, where a real difference is made in the lives of individuals and families.

There seems to be countless lists of charity and humanitarian organizations that flood our mailboxes and pop-up ads on the internet asking for donations, especially during this time of the year. As we’re inundated, it's hard to choose where to spend our money, where the needs are the greatest, and where the money will be managed well.  

While there are many worthwhile organizations, to help you compare and decide, Foothills Church likes the following (in alpha order):


CAMA stands for Compassion and Mercy Associates, but is pronounced like “comma,” the little punctuation mark. An organization of the Alliance, CAMA’s mission is to see hurting communities reach their full potential. For 48 years, in 62 countries, they have been working to alleviate suffering and poverty, and invest in local solutions guided by local leaders and local churches.  

Alliance churches, along with trusted partners, express Christ’s compassion through emergency assistance to provide relief in disasters. With local leaders, CAMA tackles poverty and encourages community development. In times of crises, they reach into hard and suffering places. Currently they are offering a special opportunity to assist those in Ukraine who are affected by the ongoing military conflict. Also, as Jesus followers, CAMA invests in local believers and those searching for hope to help develop people who are broken.

You don’t have to be a member of the Alliance Church to contribute. Whoever, and however, you give, workers are sent and sustained, churches are planted, and the lost learn first-hand that Love is among them. Visit their website and see the various projects they are involved in, making a real difference around the world.

Heifer International

Heifer International specializes in helping children and families sustain a living, avoid hunger and obtain nutrition through gardening and animals in some of the world’s most impoverished countries. Through Heifer International, one can gift a family with an animal such as a goat, heifer, chickens, sheep, alpaca, water buffalo, ducks, honeybees, pigs, mating pair of alpacas or cattle, and much more. Each animal provides a wide range of sources for income. For example, a goat provides milk, cheese and butter for nourishment, and boosts income through sales of extra milk. One animal can produce up to four gallons a day! They also encourage better crop yields by creating fertilizer and clearing land. View their Gift Catalog and see the different categories on how your small donation can make a life changing difference for a family for years.

Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan’s purse provides a wide range of valuable assistance, especially to those in a crises around the world. They understand the darkest sides of wars, abuse, natural disasters, and hunger that humans and children have to deal with, and step in to provide comfort, shelter, food, protection, and Biblical counseling.

They also help poor families to avoid hunger and use your donations to help farming families with agriculture, livestock, and honeybees, which these families have then used the income from those gifts to put roofs on their houses, pay school fees, and build a village church. Even for just $20 per family, Samaritans purse can provide a hive, equipment, and training. Visit their website for 41 options you can choose from to make a real impact.

World Vision

World Vision primarily focuses on children around the world, bringing the love of Christ along with help that is needed to help communities lift themselves out of poverty. You can purchase beautiful handcrafted jewelry, fashion items or home décor as a gift to a friend, relative, or yourself. Or you can donate to their animal and agriculture funds to help provide nutrition to children and families, and help them earn income, contribute to their disaster relief, education, or health funds and other essential causes. Whatever you choose, your giving will multiply in meaningful ways. Order by December 15th and a family can enjoy your gift by Christmas.

The Alliance

As members of the Alliance family, we desire to see All of Jesus for All the World—and that will take all of us. All the World means those who live in the hardest places where others are not going. This is where 80 percent of Alliance international workers go. We intentionally seek out least-reached people groups to bring All of Jesus to the unseen, the forgotten, and the rejected in every community we serve. This is what sets The Alliance apart. You can be present with your Alliance workers by equipping them to do the work God has called them to do. Within this gift catalog are 24 specific Alliance projects that have been selected for their time-sensitive, strategic ministry importance. Each project is on the front line of mission. Behind each project is an unreached people group waiting to know the love and care of Christ their Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.

Foothills Opportunities

At Foothills church we are also providing opportunities for meaningful gift-giving! We are partnering with the Arab American Learning Center in Sacramento to provide gifts of WARMTH to our refugee neighbors. They are in need of NEW (not used) blankets (twin and queen), and sweatpants and socks of all sizes. Let's keep these families warm this winter. Drop off your NEW (not used) gifts in the bin on the patio by December 11th.

You can also make a local family’s Christmas brighter and adopt a family in need that is facing hardship. Contact Debbie Stamer at the church office either by email at, or call 530-677-3057.
Gift-giving is straight from the heart and is essentially love, either wrapped up in a pretty package or given as an animal who can help bring continuous income and nutrition. When you give, you sow the seeds of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When one is given love, one learns how love works, and love is transforming. It is healing, and it builds up. It builds up a broken person, it builds up a family, it builds up a community.

When God gave Christ as His gift to us, He gave us Love wrapped in human flesh. He gave us Himself. When we share Him through gift-giving, we share Love and bring His light into the darkest corners of the Earth where He is needed the most to shine.

The best news about sharing Love: Love isn’t limited to Christmas time. It’s unlimited because Christ is. You never know how your one act of giving during the holidays can make a lasting impact.

Foothills Church provided some favorite humanitarian causes for alternative gift-giving to expand God’s love in needed areas, but you may know of trustworthy and worthwhile organizations to contribute to. If you wish to share your own recommendation(s) and/or your rewarding experiences, please click on the comment button below to encourage others to give to reflect Christ’s love this time of the year, and throughout the new year.
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1 Comment

Pastor Brian - December 1st, 2022 at 11:22am

These are excellent giving opportunities that are fresh, creative, and most of all deeply meaningful and needed. Thanks for checking out this page and Happy Christmas to you all!