I read a survey that said the number one gift during the holidays is a gift card. While gift cards are convenient, they don’t require much thought or effort.

If you’re looking to give your loved ones a memorable gift that will also  make a difference in the lives of children and families living in poverty in the U.S. and around the world, I’d recommend selecting a few unique and sustainable items from World Vision’s Gift Catalog (you can watch this YouTube video to see how the gift catalog works).

The catalog offers more than 250 gifts including many affordable items under $50. Gifts available include, but are not limited to:

  • Feed a family in the US for a day ($16): Here in the United States, 1 in 5 children lives in poverty. Gift givers can help restore hope to families that have been struck by disaster, homelessness or job loss.
  • A child’s education ($32): Supplying school fees, textbooks, paper and pencils will help a child reach their full potential.
  • Goats ($75): One of the most popular gift items because its milk provides protein for children and the surplus can be sold. More than 20,000 goats were purchased last year.
  • Beehive ($150): Beekeeping is a sustainable, year-round way to generate income and is a great source of nutritious, medicinal honey and beeswax.

The best part about these gifts is that they are self-sustainable. For example, goats given to communities in Africa are purchased in Africa. This allows transformational community development within the most poverty-stricken villages.

Since the Gift Catalog was introduced in 1996, its popularity as a gift-giving medium has grown with more than $32 million in purchases made last year. World Vision hopes to reach $34 million this year. After purchasing a Gift Catalog item, the person whose name the gift was given in receives a special card describing the gift and its impact. Donors can also receive free handmade gifts such as ornaments from Nairobi and jewelry from Thailand with a cash contribution to the Maximum Impact Fund.

As a thank you for visiting the Gift Catalog, I’d like to offer one reader an opportunity to win a hand-crafted, semi-precious stone and glass bead necklace. This unique, colorful strand can be worn long or short, as a bracelet or even a belt. All proceeds from the sale of this necklace goes towards fighting human trafficking. To enter the contest, leave a comment answering the following question:

How do you help others during the holiday season (or any other time)?

Additional Entries

After you have submitted your mandatory entry, you can receive additional entries by doing any or all of the following things:

Mocha Dad’s “Make a Difference in Poor People’s Lives with World Vision’s Gift Catalog ” Contest starts on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 and ends Monday, November 21, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (CST), and is open to all Mocha Dad readers, subscribers, and/or fans in the continental U.S. No purchase required. Relatives and employees of Mocha Dad Media are not eligible to win. You are also ineligible if you’ve won a prize from this blog within the past 60 days. One winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. You must leave your contact information to collect your prize. If a winner does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. All opinions are my own.