Paleo Diet and Charitable Giving

You know it’s getting close to Christmas when the various charities come knocking on your door asking for donations. A few of these charities I have a hard time supporting, but most are truly worthy causes that really deserve our support. The problem is that, unless you are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or even someone slightly less wealthy than them, you cannot give to all of, or even most of these charities. I believe charitable giving is important, even if it hurts a bit to give. I look at what I have an my situation and know that there are those who are much less fortunate than myself. How can I not give? But I also understand that giving a little bit here and a little bit there is much less effective than giving a decent amount to fewer charities. That is how I’ve been giving for a long time. But my journey into the Paleo world has made me understand how important it is for everyone to have access to high quality protein, the poorest included, of course. So it made me wonder, is there a way to combine the Paleo diet and charitable giving?

As if  in reply to my query, I received a catalog from an organization which literally brought me to tears. You see, they specialize in providing animals to struggling families around the globe. You may have already guessed that I am talking about Heifer International. This charitable organization  provides livestock such as goats, cattle, sheep, chickens, ducks and even rabbits (and much more) to struggling families that are in poverty stricken areas of the globe so that they can feed themselves and the community at large. What also happens is that since the animals breed, the offspring are given to other members of the community. For what is basically a small donation and entire village now has the means to feed itself. Not too bad!

One of many success stories from the Heifer International website:

The simple act of giving lies at the heart of what it means to be human. This truth proved abundantly evident at a Heifer International “Passing of the Gift” ceremony that took place outside Kigali, Rwanda, in the Jabana Sector of the Gasabo District. One-hundred fifty farmers, officials and celebratory dancers took part in the joyous occasion to mark the “passing on” gift of a dairy cow from 22 Heifer donors to 22 recipients. The donors were themselves recipients of a Heifer International gift of livestock, and were fulfilling their commitment to give their cow’s first-born female to another needy recipient.

The donations represented the sixth generation of giving for the vibrant, successful Heifer dairy cow project in Jabana, beginning with 172 animals in 2004, almost doubling in size to 321 cows in 2009. Six times in five years have the recipients of Heifer livestock donations turned into donors, passing on the largesse that the organization’s American contributors began.  “It is a chain of giving,” said Gaspard Ialisa, president of Heifer’s P.O.G. (Passing on the Gift) Project in Jabana, which is named after the ceremony by which an original Heifer gift can multiply arithmetically. In the lush, gently rolling hills northeast of the Rwandan capital of Kigali, Heifer cattle dot the small dairy farms and over 300 families can attribute increased prosperity and better nutrition to the P.O.G. Project.

Support the chain of giving in Rwanda by helping to fund the Rwanda Sustainable Dairy Enterprise Project.

Now I grant that their ranking on the Charity Navigator website is only 3 star. This means that a large chunk of donations go to administrative purposes, but considering what they do, that is not surprising. I believe that the end result of what Heifer International does is what is important.

Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I believe there is something here we can all get behind.  I know we get tied up in the day to day issues of trying to follow a Paleo diet, the cost of grass fed beef, the availability of pastured butter, etc. But here is an opportunity to share a small piece of what we are doing with others across the globe, indeed, to those who need it most.  I think that we can give to charities that are more in line with Paleo Diet and Heifer International is one of these charitable organizations.

For a more “local” take on the Paleo Diet and charitable giving, there is an organization that is also very worthy of our help - Steve’s Club - Youth Fitness.  Steve Liberati founded this club to help at risk youth improve themselves through Cross Fit.  Steve is also the owner of Steve’s Originals, the home of the Paleo Kit.  Please take the opportunity to give to Steve’s Club or to buy some Paleo Kits. Either way you are doing good!


What do you think of Heifer International? Do you know of similar organizations that provide ongoing sustenance to the poverty stricken around the globe? Please leave your comments below and also Share this article with others. Thank You!


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