Good morning everyone!
I hope you are well.
Yesterday afternoon I was in London's Ten Thousand Villages store, had a great conversation with Tania, the manager.
Ten Thousand Villages stores are a Fair Trade organization, selling hand-crafted items and food items made 'round the world. TTV is a non-profit, fund-raising arm of the Mennonite Central Committee, a reputable, long-standing international assistance organization. Revenues from the TTV stores are ploughed right back into programs ... and since some are agricultural programs, plough is pun intended :-)
All year 'round, one can donate to MCC projects - give gifts of hope, peace, and food sovereignty. At this time of year, special Living Gifts come right into the Ten Thousand Villages stores. You get a card describing the gift and project being supported. TTV can even arrange to send it on to someone for you. "Gifting" made simple and kind.
The selection of Living Gifts is described fully at:
Highlights of the Living Gifts:
A Training program - Creativity and technical skills unleashed! This $35.00 gift sends one woman in Mymensingh, Bangladesh to a course where she learns about textiles' qualities and how to design fabrics. Part of what happens in this town is that the materials for the textiles are grown right nearby, so supporting design training reinforced the agriculture!
In Haiti, a reforestation project is planting fruit trees in its tree mix, acknowledging the importance of healthy, local food alongside the land regeneration importance of trees. Only $20.00 to purchase a tree.
In Ethiopia, sheep are a natural part of agriculture and local industry... sheep for fleece, fiber and clothing ... and of course their manure is part of soil health. Give a sheep for $57.00 and help maintain the cycle of agriculture and production.
You can even "Fill a Farmyard" for $300.00. This provides healthy stock for breeding more and for all the products: meat, milk, eggs, leathers, textiles.
There are two education gifts, which support 50 community-based education programs.
$24 school supplies - Provide school uniforms and supplies to a child, giving them access to education.
$300 give education - Sponsor a Global Family program for one full year.
Education and training of one family member, or any one small enterprise run by a family, has its effects on the neighbourhood, and into the wider community.
Just like your own creativity and care help in your community, you can help in another's community.
If you are wondering why I'm writing this post, it's because of my most worn cookbook - The More With Less Cookbook by the late Doris Janzen Longacre - which was the first cookbook published by the Mennonite Central Committee
If you were cooking in the late 1970s and early 1980s you probably have a copy. It's been updated and had anniversary editions, and the The Mennonite Central Committee has published other great cookbooks over the years. They all emphasize good food, health, care and social justice through frugal recipes and common sense.
More With Less was my kindergarten. You know, as in "all I ever needed to know about ... I learned in kindergarten". From The More With Less Cookbook I learned that recipes have stories and people alongside them, that sharing makes you feel good, that you don't have to have a lot of money to be generous, and that simple, healthy food nourishes your body and heals your mind and soul.
And here comes the pitch: check out your local Ten Thousand Villages store, or the website, or the projects of the Mennonite Central Committee. The links are just below. And as your budget allows, please consider a gift to match the interests of a friend or family member.
Best regards, as always!
Ten Thousand Villages - Living Gifts - http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/events-and-festivals/living_gifts
Ten Thousand Villages -630 Richmond Street, London, Ontario - ph. 519-433-0977
** they have beautiful, hand-crafted crêches!! **
Mennonite Central Committee, Canada - http://mcccanada.ca/