What to Give to the Person Who Has Everything

Mercy Kits help Mercy Corps programs throughout the globe, such as youth programs in Kyrgyztan.

Mercy Kits help Mercy Corps programs throughout the world, such as youth programs in Kyrgyzstan.

When confronted by malls full of frantic holiday shoppers and barraged with advertisements promising the perfect gifts, we’re sometimes overwhelmed. We realize we’re very fortunate to be living somewhere that has so much available, while many others have very little. That’s why Mercy Kits — symbolic humanitarian gifts that support the health and education programs of Mercy Corps — are perfect for the person who has everything.

More than 25 kits, with varying prices and causes, are available, such as the Emergency Food Kit ($18) for families who need basic foodstuffs during times of conflict or disaster to the Well Kit ($1,000) to build accessible water sources in places such as Sudan’s Darfur region. Each kit comes with a card for the recipient, with details about the cause and a personal message from you. Cards can be mailed, e-mailed or even printed out, so they’re great for last-minute gifts.

Since 1979, Mercy Corps has been helping individuals, families and communities hurt by economic crisis, armed conflict and natural disasters around the globe, from the United States to Kyrgyzstan. The organization, based in Portland, OR, started offering the tax-deductible Mercy Kits in 2003. “With Mercy Kits, gift-givers can make a difference in the lives of others in need around the world,” says spokeswoman Joy Portella. Proceeds from most of the kits go to where Mercy Corps determines it is most needed, though the following support specific projects: Breastfeeding Kit ($75), Climate Change Kit ($150), Fuel-Efficient Stove Kit ($45), Send an Orphan to School Kit ($100), Plant a Tree Kit ($55) and Play to Heal Kit ($75).

This season, we’re happy to give gifts that not only brighten the holidays for the recipient of the card, but for people in need. For more gift ideas that benefit charities, check out our “Shopping for Change” story in our November/December issue.

What do you think — would you like receiving one of these kits this holiday season?

Photo credit: Jason Sangster/Mercy Corps