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10 Great Things to Give for the Holidays

2017 Edition


December 13, 2017

What do you give the person who has everything? The joy of knowing that instead of a tie or a candle, you have honored them with a gift that will change and even save lives.

You work for peace rooted in justice! Shouldn’t your gift-giving do the same?

Here are 10 gift-giving ideas for lovers of peace and justice. We’ve focused on grassroots efforts led by people we know so that you can be positive that your gift will matter and will be used wisely and well.

1. Providing Safe Water for Four Puerto Rican Families

Long-time member Dick Myers comes to us with this important request:

As a long-time member of BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz, I am reaching out to you to ask you to join me in supporting immediate, life-saving relief to Puerto Rico. As you may know, water remains a critical need – so much so that some people feel forced to drink contaminated water. Many people, especially in rural areas, are struggling day by day to get enough clean water to sustain life.

Volunteer engineer Scott Wagner of Rochester, NY, a member of my church, is helping out in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico through the Primera Iglesia Bautista (First Baptist Church). Seeing the immense need, he has been working to find a way to provide more clean water.  He has found an opportunity through a business he knows in the United States which has 1,450 10-liter water filters for use in rural areas.  Each one would serve 3 to 4 families. The company will sell them below their cost for $32 each.  Scott has arranged for transport through Delta Air Lines.

For $32 dollars, you can provide clean water to up to four families.

Click here to donate now. Be sure to select the Water Filtration Project in the project drop-down menu to designate your donation toward this initiative.

2. Rebuilding Help for a Mexican Family

Shalom Baptist Church in Mexico City has committed to rebuilding the homes of  seven families in Hueyapan, Morelos, Mexico. These homes, which housed 38 people in total, were destroyed in the September 2017 earthquake. These new homes will be far sturdier and safer, built to withstand earthquakes and other disasters. Thanks to the work of a numerous volunteers, the total cost to rebuild all seven structures is estimated to be $500,000 Mexican pesos or about $26,000 US dollar including labor and materials. Read more from Shalom Baptist Church: Report 1Report 2.

Our partners at the Mayan Intercultural Seminary in Chiapas are leading a similar effort with families in indigenous community called "La Constitución." They have used our previous donations to provide resupply people's pantries and to provide kitchen utensils, blankets, chairs, and folding wooden tables for families who have lost everything. They have also been called into the municipalities of Chenalho and Chalchihuitán where displaced peoples are living in the mountains, without electricity, water, food, medicine, or shelter. The biggest priorities are blankets, food and medicines. Finally, they are working to secure the services of a doctor in these villages as they have learned that many children are ill and 200 pregnant women are in need of medical care. Click here to read more from SIM.

Donations in any amount can be made through BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz. Click here to make a donation now. Designate your gift for “Mexican Disaster Relief.”

3. Making Education Possible for a Puerto Rican Seminarian

Our partners at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico – where our long-time friend Doris Garcia is President – do amazing work nurturing their students, many of whom are already leading churches throughout the island.

Even as the seminary is working to do the clean-up and rebuilding that will allow the campus to be used again (they are currently holding classes at Interamerican Metro University), they are also scrambling to create a robust scholarship fund.

Every single student has been impacted by the double blow of the financial crisis (which has blocked federal financial aid) and the hurricanes which have devastated the entire island. Most will be unable to continue their educations without significant scholarship support.

A gift of $215 will allow a student to complete a 1 credit hour course; $430 will cover a two credit hour course; $645 will allow a student to complete a three credit hour course.

You can give here.

For a fuller report on the impact of the hurricanes at the seminary, click here to read a report written in early December by President Doris Garcia.

4. Walking Alongside a Puerto Rican Congregation Serving its Community

Primera Iglesia Bautista de Rio Piedras, where former BPFNA ~ Bautitas por la Paz board member Laura Ivelisse Ayala is pastor, is serving as a hub housing volunteers and providing direct support in the devastation following the hurricanes. Many residents are without power as many people do not have the money for the gas needed to run generators and many generators are breaking down under constant use. Access to clean water remains a critical issue. The church continues to supply one hot meal a day for local residents and works daily to get life-saving supplies (food, water, medicine, batteries etc.) to people far and wide.

Stress and depression are also rampant and the church is actively working to help people through the on-going emotional crisis. 

One volunteer writes:

"But we see hope every day; in the efforts of hundreds volunteers that take to the streets every weekend to help bring supplies and hope to families who are suffering the destruction of their homes and still face the financial impact of the hurricane that hit an already fragile economy. And in the hundreds of non-for-profit organizations, new and existing, that have reached way beyond their normal target audience. And we are so happy to see the Church doing its job with care and compassion. There are signs of hope everywhere, today some electric poles arrived in our neighborhood. We were excited to see the workers and their trucks, because that means that we are that much closer to having electric power and get rid off the horrible noise of the generators. We keep learning what is really necessary, important and cherished. Sometimes losing material things and comforts we gain perspective."

Gifts to support this work can be made through BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz and designated for “Disaster Relief - Rio Piedras.” Click here to donate now.

5. Supporting LGBTQ People in Immigrant Detention

We learned about the work of this group from Josue Saldivar one of two Youth and Young Adult representatives on our board of directors.

Mariposas Sin Fronteras is a Tucson, AZ based group that seeks to end the systemic violence and abuse of LGBTQ people held in prison and immigration detention. They envision a society that no longer finds solutions in the system of immigration detention or the prison industrial complex. As they work toward that goal, they support LGBTQ people currently detained in Eloy and Florence, AZ through visits, letters, bond support, advocacy, and housing upon freedom from detention.

Due to the high rate of systemic abuse and discrimination towards LGBTQ detainees, support and solidarity are critical to ending the plight LGBTQ prisoners face in immigration detention.

Mariposas’ leadership consists largely of LGBTQ immigrants, many of whom have been detained.

Click here to donate online. You can also mail a donation to 620 S. 6th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701 (make checks payable to "Rainbow Defense Fund").

6. Mentoring for Marginalized Young Adults - Crossing Lines Africa

Crossing Lines Africa is a grassroots community based organization in Uganda, led by our friend and colleague Philip Stargate who has done Conflict Transformation training with Rev. Dr. Dan Buttry and has worked with both Dan and BPFNA on various projects seeking to transform the landscape one of the world’s most marginalized groups, sexual minority communities in his native Uganda.

A key focus of their work is mentoring sexual minority young adults, giving them a year-long opportunity to develop and appreciate themselves in a program called GLBTQ Investment Year (GLTB iY). The iY will graduate 40 young people every six months.

  • A gift of $25 will provide a monthly stipend for a conflict transformation facilitator.
  • A gift of $50 will provide monthly conflict transformation training materials for a young person struggling with sexual orientation.
  • A gift of $150 will facilitate one month internship for GLBTQ young person.
  • A gift of $250 will provide one month residential training scholarship for a GLBTQ young person in crisis (including psycho-socio support).

Send your support through BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz, 300 Hawthorne Lane, Suite 205, Charlotte, NC 28204 (Memo Line should read: "GLTBQ Investment Year Uganda").

7. Fostering Dignified, Gainful Work Opportunities for People Facing Multiple Barriers to Work.

JustWork Economic Initiative emerged in 2004 from the life and ministry of Grandview Calvary Baptist Church ("GCBC") in Vancouver, Canada. GCBC encouraged the development of JustWork as a way to offer assistance and hope to a growing number of people in the Grandview-Woodlands neighborhood who were struggling to find work.

JustWork’s focus is on the development of social enterprises to meet our mandate to offer dignified, meaningful work opportunities to people facing barriers to work. JustCatering, JustPotters, and JustRenos are the three businesses we currently operate. They continue to partner with GCBC as part of a holistic approach to community care, and continue to open opportunities for over 30 people to make valuable workplace contributions and enjoy the goodness of meaningful work.

Please consider a donation to support the job-skills training initiative. A donation of $35 will sponsor one employee in one training workshop on topics such as effective workplace communication, conflict resolution, and money management. A donation of $350 would sponsor a workshop for 10 employees.

Donations can be made in the following ways:

  • Click here to donate online.
  • Mail a cheque (payable to "JustWork Economic Initiative") to JustWork, 1803 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC V5N 1B2, CANADA

8. Sending a Girl to School

Education for young women is often very rare (in all of South Sudan, only 500 girls graduate from high school every year) and very valuable, keeping girls away from early marriage, building self-esteem, and preparing them for a life of opportunity rather than menial labor—or other more dehumanizing jobs.

Our friends at the New Community Project are empowering girls to go to school.

  • $35 covers a year’s tuition in DR Congo or Nepal
  • $90 covers a year in South Sudan
  • $300 allows a girl to attend a Myanmar boarding school for a year
  • $20 hygienic supplies for the school year (Did you know that a lack of feminine hygiene supplies is the number 1 reason girls and young women miss school worldwide?)

Click here to donate.

If you are able to go a little further, consider the Second Step project from the New Community Project (NCP):

Many of the girls who have graduated from high school in South Sudan thanks to NCP’s support have asked for additional support for further education or vocational training in nearby Uganda, as this greatly increases their career options. This costs $750 per girl per year for two years. If requested, NCP can provide the name and photo of the girl, and attempt to give updates on her progress in school. In the first year, 14 girls were supported—and the number continues to grow!

NCP commits only to as many girls as they have donor commitments to support so, if you can commit to $750 a year for two years, you will have a profound and lasting impact on the life of one woman and her family.

Second Step has its own promo album on its Facebook page and its own tab on its donation page.

9. Empowering a Woman in Recovery

Many of us know Coffee Connection because of the leadership of long-time members Joy Bergfalk and Jimmy Reader.

The Coffee Connection provides employment training and job creation for women in recovery from addiction and as a not-for-profit business sells fair trade, organic coffee to retail and wholesale customers. In partnership with Project Empower, they provide comprehensive, continuous support for women on their journey toward sustainable recovery.

Your $10 gift every month – combined with 100 people doing the same thing – will help to create a part-time job for an amazing woman who is changing her life.

Click here to learn more. 

Click here to donate now.

10. Increasing the BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz Summer Conference Scholarship Fund for Indigenous Attendees

After a powerful gathering at our 2017 conference, indigenous leaders spoke to us about the need to continue to come together across national boundaries.

"It would be very important to have space to come together and talk about things of importance to us."

Given that encouragement, we designated this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign to support this effort, and we raised enough to cover the conference costs for about 10 people. We know there are far more people who would find this gathering beneficial for their work so we welcome more donations.

With the following gift amounts, you could...

  • $30: Cover one person's campus use fee.
  • $120: Cover one person's meals for the week.
  • $125: Cover one person's housing for the week.
  • $225: Cover one person's registration fee.
  • $500: Cover one person's full conference costs.

Will you donate today to help reach across borders and boundaries to create peace rooted in justice? Click here to donate now.

Consider These for Actual, Physical Gifts

Canaan Fair Trade
Canaan Fair Trade offers Palestinian products that benefit Palestinian farmers.

Equal Exchange
By enjoying Equal Exchange products, you join a movement to support small-scale farmers. They offer a variety of fairly-traded coffee, tea, food, and gift items.

Fair Trade Federation Holiday Gift Guide
When you buy from Fair Trade Federation members, you support businesses that respect the planet, value unique cultural traditions, and empower small farmers and artisans around the world.

Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

Peacemaker Fair Trade Project Meet Our Members Donate to BPFNA Buy Resources