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Great Things to Give for the Holidays

2019 Edition


November 6, 2019

Every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to live in. Why give a tie or a candle to someone who already has more than they need? Why not make your gifts benefit people who could really use them? You work for peace rooted in justice! Shouldn’t your gift-giving do the same? Here are some 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.

We hope this list supports your creative, joyful holiday gift-giving. If you’d like to be included next time or have a group to suggest, email Allison at [email protected] 

1. Help support trans youth in East Africa

Donate to help secure rent and utilities for a Trans Safe House for youth in Nairobi. The house is being rented and cared for by our friend Philip (Crossing Lines Uganda). While more renovations need to be done, there are currently 18 young people at the Safe House, some even who have run away from their countries to find refuge there. Philip is also working to expand programming at the Safe House to include topics like Dealing with Addiction, Queer Lessons, Leadership Capacity Building, Income Sustainability and weekly Bible Study and prayer opportunities. Philip reports:

“We would love to allow another 12 trans young people to join but only after we secure full funds for rent and basic utilities. I already have many young people from Uganda and Tanzania and some from Kenya seeking to flee to the Trans Safe House, but right now we can only take in a few. So what we have done is register as a community-based organization for young people in crisis in Nairobi for a 12-month residential program so that the program can run legally and also provide a safety net. All the trans young people are from East African countries. When we are 6 months into the program, I will be seeking funding to extend their immigration status in Nairobi for another six-month residence permit. This is acceptable in our East African Community Coalition. So the program is fully ready to go, what we still need to secure is rent and utilities.”

Donations toward this project can be made through BPFNA. You can click here to donate online or mail a check to 300 Hawthorne Ln, Suite 205, Charlotte, NC 28204. Please select “Crossing Lines Africa Uganda” (if online) or add a note in the memo line (if check) so we know how to designate the funds.

2. Support schooling and empowerment of children and youth in Burundi

STEP Children of Peace Burundi started in 2018. In Burundi, thanks to the generosity of donors, the project supported 60 underprivileged kids mainly former street children and orphans from one of the poorest districts of Bujumbura, the main city of Burundi. The project did not only support the beneficiaries with school materials but most importantly it helped kids who had dropped out return to school. The project also helped to economically empower their families especially the mothers.

In 2019, STEP Children of Peace Burundi continued its good work. The project moved to an area located outside of Bujumbura and supported the schooling of 50 children. It not only supported the schooling of underprivileged children, but also facilitated youth empowerment as some youth were involved in facilitating the main activities of the project. In addition, STEP Children of Peace Burundi contributed in ensuring good relationships, peaceful cohabitation and social cohesion among the families of the beneficiaries. Half of beneficiaries (25) were orphans living in an internal displacement camp, another half (25) from a neighboring village. After a mass killing due to tribalism in 1993, relationships between people have been strained. Supporting children and families from both groups is a long-term investment in attaining sustainable peace.

The area has many children needing support, and I hope little by little we will be able to reach other children. It will be crucial to ensure the socio-economic empowerment of the families. We would love to encourage pig farming to families with children in the program so that they can be economically empowered to support the children being able to stay in school.

Click here here to donate toward this project (select STEP, Africa Children of Peace as the designation). Donations to this project also go to support orphaned children in Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

3. Support medical workers on the ground in Nicaragua

The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) is a project of the Jubilee House Community, Inc., (JHC) and does work in partnership with communities and cooperatives in Nicaragua to facilitate the empowerment of local people to find their own solutions to problems they identify and connects them with resources that can help. For 40 years they have listened to local community leadership to build partnerships and respond as they are able. And, in 40 years, they have never stopped services because they didn’t know where the money to do this work would come from.

As their work / ministry has grown in Nicaragua over the past 25 years, they gradually expanded their staff to address the needs. But then in April 2018, Nicaragua experienced several months of political unrest and violence. The U.S. State Department raised Nicaragua’s travel warning to a Level 3, and with that notice, the CDCA’s U.S. volunteer delegations abruptly stopped coming. Funding that projects and workers depended on also stopped coming. A year and a half later, things have not gotten better, and CDCA is facing a financial crisis out of their control.

Some examples of what this looks like:

  • Costs for employee coverage in the INSS (social security & health care system) has risen from 25.75% to 28.5%. Because of this, they have neither been able to increase wages nor completely absorb the INSS increase.
  • Cost of electricity has risen by 17.2%.
  • Gasoline is now $3.62/gal.
  • Food costs have risen by 33%, with more items being taxed than before.
  • Monthly medicine purchases for the clinic have risen from $4,200 to $4,800, which is a 14% increase even while our clinic administrator is cutting supplies as much as possible and seeking local donations.

They currently have nothing else to borrow from in order to cover the expenses to do their much-needed work. The only way for them to lower costs further would be to lay someone off, someone who has a family depending on them, and who is doing an invaluable service, including helping to cover the gaps in clinic services due to budget cuts that already had to be made.

Click here to donate.

4. Help QC Family Tree continue to build community in West Charlotte, NC USA

QC Family Tree, located in Charlotte, NC USA, builds community and solidarity among the people of West Charlotte in creative ways. Through telling stories, singing songs, making art, growing gardens and more, QC Family Tree is kinfolk rooted in discipleship chasing after the lively Spirit who inspires people to come together as family to build a better neighborhood and world. QC Family Tree also focuses on affordable housing, youth leadership opportunities and creating a culture of abundance through workshops, retreats and trainings.

Recently, one of the QC Family Tree houses caught fire and suffered a lot of damage. This house signifies and embodies so much – it is a place people rely on for stability community, creativity, nourishment, family and love. It is also a home for several staff members. While no one was hurt, there is still a lot of work to do restore housing for staff and provide a stable location for this work to continue.

Click here to donate.

5. Support the Community Health Program through the Mayan Intercultural Seminary (SIM)

The Indigenous peoples have been marginalized and socially excluded. Indigenous communities have been plunged into poverty; lost their territory; and lack access to health services, education and basic housing. In terms of healthcare, Indigenous people tend to settle away from the main city centers and it takes them several hours to travel to the hospital. If they are lucky, they receive care and a bed assignment quickly, but many times they spend hours in the hospital waiting rooms while their health worsens.

In the face of these adversities, the SIM has launched a community health program that trains community members to provide the primary health care services for the people. This program is new, and more solidarity efforts need to happen so that indigenous peoples can continue learning about health issues as a way to build justice and peace among Indigenous peoples and communities.

Donations to this program can be made through BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz. Click here to make a donation now. Designate your gift for “SIM Chiapas.”

6. Support people experiencing homelessness in Puerto Rico

The mission of Corporación Milagros del Amor (CorMA) is to enhance the quality of life of the people of Caguas and surrounding communities through multiple programs and activities in areas such as health, education, housing, and recreation, among others.

CorMA leads a scattered site program, which provides permanent housing and supportive services for chronic homeless individuals and families who can live independently.  In addition, CorMA support undeserved people through direct services programs providing groceries, hot meals, transportation and other basic services. A unique program in the area is eSpacio de Mujer, which is a space for homeless women to take showers and receive social services, hot meals, workshops and prayers. In addition, the Bazar Rincón del Amor provides clothes, shoes and other articles of clothing for those experiencing homelessness. The Colmadito de Jesús provides emergency groceries for individuals or families who are facing economic insecurity or personal situations.

CorMA represents the hope of many people who have no family or support to have a dignified and respected life.

Your donation will support our programs to provide housing and basic services. Our goal is to give new options to live and follow Jesus’ example to provide shelter to those most in need.

There are a few ways to donate:

  • On their website
  • By PayPal
  • By ATH Mobile: Milagros del Amor
  • Mail a check to:
    Corporación Milagros del Amor
    PO Box 6445
    Caguas, PR  00726-6445

7. Support the Wet’suwet’en Nation in protecting their land

(The information below is taken from various sections of the Unist’ot’en Camp’s website and press releases.)

Support the Wet’suwet’en people in standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who, in  an era of Reconciliation, continue colonial violence against. Wet’suwet’en Territory is divided into 5 clans and 13 house groups. The Wet’suwet’en people have maintained occupancy of their lands and the practice  of their hereditary governance system for thousands of years. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are the Title Holders and maintain authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on unceded lands. Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control their territory.

The Wet’suwet’en have been fighting and resisting pipelines for years. They started by building a cabin on one of the pipeline’s proposed paths onUnist’ot’en Territory . Then as an act of reoccupation, Freda Huson, member of the Unist’ot’en clan, and spokesperson for the community, moved onto the territory and has been living in the cabin since 2015. Along with supporters, a traditional pit house and Healing Center, where people from their community can come to work through the trauma of colonization, have been constructed. In early January of 2019, an armed military scale assault in favor of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline forcibly removed Wet’suwet’en members from their land as they were attempting to stop Coastal Gas from entering the territory against their wishes.

The Unist’ot’en Camp has been a beacon of resistance for nearly 10 years. It is a healing space for Indigenous people and settlers alike, and an active example of decolonization. The violence, environmental destruction, and disregard for human rights following TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) / Coastal GasLink’s interim injunction has been devastating to bear, but this fight is far from over.

Year-round support is needed to help them protect their land, water and air.

Click here to donate. You can support them through visiting the camp, donating to the completion of the Healing Center or to their legal fight to get Coastal Gas off their territory. 

8. Support theological education and the empowerment of Indigenous and marginalized communities in central and southern Mexico

The Baptist Seminary of Mexico is a member of a consortium of seminaries that work together to train leaders – both women and men – to build local churches and influence society. It works toward leadership development in Indigenous protestant churches in southern Mexico and in marginalized areas of Mexico City. The seminary contributes to the transformation of society by putting theory into action and relating to people in their own contexts. Its vision is to transform society through faith and action and has an integral mission of theological-pastoral formation.

Through a comprehensive quality training program offered by the seminary at different levels, the beneficiaries develop academic and social skills that allow them to influence the transformation of their communities.

VALUES: Ecumenism and Interculturality / Gender equity / Solidarity and social justice / Faith

TRAINING PROGRAM / EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: The Baptist Seminary of Mexico aims to promote education for the development of Christian leadership. The training program includes the following:

  • Degree in theology
  • Bible, theology & pastoral program
  • Annual conference based around the theology of Jorge Pixley with themes in peacebuilding & human rights
  • Training workshops for local leaders
  • Citizenship workshops
  • Conflict transformation workshops
  • Environmental workshops
  • Programs and resources for children & trainings for church teachers.

PASTORAL PROGRAM: The Baptist Seminary of Mexico has a mission of combining theory and practice. To achieve its mission, the seminary focuses on three main areas for theological and community development:

  • Pastoral for peace (accompanying migrants)
  • Intercultural pastoral (accompanying Indigenous movements)
  • Social pastoral (accompanying the reconstruction of houses & projects for sustainability & food sovereignty)

Click here to donate (done by wire transfers).

Click here to learn more and for contact information. You can also find the Seminary on Facebook.

9. Help empower exonerated death row survivors in the United States

Witness to Innocence (WTI) is the only organization in the United States dedicated to empowering exonerated death row survivors to be the most powerful and effective voice in the struggle to end the death penalty. Through public speaking, testifying in state legislatures, media work, and active participation in the nation’s cultural life, WTI members are helping to end the death penalty by educating the public about innocence and wrongful convictions.

WTI also provides an essential network of peer support for the exonerated, most of whom received no compensation or access to reentry services when released from death row.

By making a donation to WTI, you will empower death row exonerees to be leaders and advocates in order to fix the broken criminal justice system in the US, prevent wrongful convictions and end the death penalty.

Click here to donate.

10. Support and empower 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 aga clic aquí to donate online
  • Mail a cheque (payable to "JustWork Economic Initiative") to: JustWork, 1803 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC V5N 1B2, CANADA

…and one more…

11. Support BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz’s work of peace rooted in justice

We rely on the financial contributions of peacemakers like you to keep this work going. From maintaining the day-to-day administrative aspects to creating and developing quality programing and resources to bringing in and welcoming new peacemakers from all walks of life, your donation today will keep us going strong into 2020 and beyond.

And thanks to some generous supporters, 2019 is a great year to give as the impact of your gift could be doubled or even tripled!

  • If you are a current donor and you give more than you gave in 2018, the increase will be DOUBLED!

  • If you are a lapsed donor and you renew in 2019, your full gift will be DOUBLED!
  • If you have never been a donor and you make a gift in 2019, your gift will be TRIPLED!

Click here to donate online or send your contribution to “BPFNA, 300 Hawthorne Ln, Suite 205, Charlotte, NC 28204." 

Consider These for Actual, Physical Gifts

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
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