The Best Gifts You Can Give This Christmas Redefine "Giving"
Over the years, I’ve been blessed to receive a lot of wonderful food, drinks, cookbooks, pans, and kitchen gadgets to review on Get Cooking. I was recently sent a Fair-Trade Coffee Gift Set from the One Cup Project (a beautiful organization that works with World Vision) and it had an immediate effect on me. In fact, the effect hasn’t left and I don’t believe it ever will.
First a little bit about World Vision. This charitable organization (no doubt you’ve heard of them) doesn’t just “want’ to help save the world, they’re rolling up their sleeves and having at it. And by save the world, I mean save as many people as possible from hunger, thirst, illness, repression, and from a lack of everyday needs – the sort of needs that you and I take for granted.
Years ago, World Vision set up something extra wonderful – the World Vision Gift Catalog. Since it began in 1996, the World Vision Gift Catalog has grown in popularity as a gift-giving alternative; more than 844,000 people helped someone through the Catalog in the last year alone.
Before I tell you why the Coffee Set is an incredible option and why holding the handmade items brought tears to my eyes, let me tell you a little bit about how the gift catalog works – and how, by buying something extra-special for someone you love, you can touch the life of someone you’ve never met.
Better still, I’ll let World Vision tell you, themselves, with the wonderful video below:
One Cup Project and The Fair-Trade Coffee Set
When I received the One Cup Fair Trade Coffee Set on my doorstep, I was as excited as a 6 year old on Christmas morning. Knowing the story BEHIND One World Vision’s mission, the importance of the Gift Catalog, and the fact that the set would include a handmade wooden scoop and hand-sewn bag (made from African fabric) crafted by beautiful people a world away left me with a lump in my throat.
As a writer, I work with words every single day of the year, except for Sundays. Yet, right now I’m at a complete loss for just the right words to describe how it felt to hold this beautiful wooden scoop and colorful, beautiful fabric bag in my hands. I can’t describe the feeling but, know this, I’ll never forget the feeling.
As tears came to my eyes, it just reawakened a love for all of God’s people – near and far. It also served as an alarm to awaken something inside of me that had been napping – there are men, women, boys, and girls all over the world who not only have the luxuries you and I take for granted – they don’t have food, shoes, or even clean drinking water.
You know the “survival” shows we watch on television – for our entertainment? There are precious people out there who’d look at these shows as though they were “just another day.” In fact, they might even think that these popular “survivors” are kind of soft.
Our entertainment. Their reality. How is this even possible?
I hope I’m not depressing you. That isn’t my intention. I just wanted to sound an alarm loud enough for as many people to hear as possible. THEN… in turn… I hope you set off you own alarms.
If you’re like most people, you’re thinking, “But, what can I do.. I’m just one person?” World Vision and One Cup are making it SIMPLE, EASY, PAINLESS, and DELICIOUS for each one of us to do our part. Simply by doing what we routinely do…. buy coffee!
Now, let me tell you about this wonderful coffee.
I actually put off opening and brewing the coffee for a couple of days. Why? I’m not 100 percent certain, but I think it had something to do with emotions and expectations. I was so EXCITED about One Cup’s mission that I was afraid the coffee wouldn’t live up to the moment.
I mean… how could it, right?!?!
I think part of me wondered, “What will I say if… after all the heart strings have been maxed out… the coffee is average, bland, or even… Heaven forbid.. bad?”
I reasoned that, if one of these things happened, I’d just keep it to myself and focus 110 percent on the mission, the beautiful fabric bag, and the adorable wooden scoop (I do love that bag and scoop!). I guess there’s safety in numbers, because the first time we opened and enjoyed the coffee in our home was when one of our best friends was visiting. He, like my husband and myself, is a huge coffee lover. It seemed like the right time to try out exciting new coffee with three complete coffee addicts in the same kitchen.
As the coffee beans were grinding and then brewing, the gorgeous, glorious aroma filled the room. There’s nothing quite like the aroma of great coffee, is there?!
Then the moment came. We poured our cups of coffee and prepared for our test drive. The room became completely quiet and, not surprisingly… not even remotely surprising… I was the first to speak. I’m not sure how they were arranged, but I know my first words (aloud) were, “Exotic, wonderful, bold, and fantastic.” The words I whispered to myself were, “Thank, God!”
I say all of that to say this – we know average coffee, good coffee, great coffee, and exceptional coffee. It is my privilege to tell you that this particular coffee qualifies as exceptional. As a coffee pro, I suspected it’d be special when I opened the bag.
The smell gave it away – I knew it was special.
In fact, if we’re being honest – this coffee creates its own category. A category that reaches BEYOND exceptional because it is included in a set that makes a difference…. a VERY REAL difference… in people’s lives. It allows US to reach out and lovingly give a hand to others while offering them hope.
The most important part of this entire project is, obviously, the difference it makes in people’s lives. How can you even put a price on giving people hope?! However, you’ll benefit on a personal level as well – after all, aren’t we coffee lovers always on the lookout for exciting new coffees to try? What’s more… trust me on this one… you will cherish the handmade items. When I held mine, I knew that…
- I’d never use the fabric bag for anything other than artwork – no way am I taking any chances on getting it dirty or tearing it!
- I’d also use the scoop as the piece of art that it is. It, along with the beautiful bag are showcased in our dining room – set where I can see them everyday and show them off as often as possible.
- And, finally, I knew I’d cherish them forever and ever, Amen.
Please click through and read more about the beautiful One Up Project. You will be touched by their mission and the coffee lover in you will be excited by the number of fantastic coffees they have available. I hope you’ll pick out a few bags to order today! For every $11 bag of coffee you buy, $11 goes to fund living aid in Africa.
I also hope you’ll read more about the World Vision Gift Catalog.
Below are just a FEW of the wonderful gifts in the catalog. There are a LOT more – including a gorgeous scarf I have my eye on.. both eyes, in fact!
- Prosperity Cinnamon: Know a friend or family member who loves to bake? Each beautifully-carved cinnamon bark box contains 3 oz. of cinnamon and bears a common Asian character for prosperity. Vietnam’s renowned sweet cinnamon is a renewable resource collected from the Cassia tree, sold to benefit generations of hard-working families. $85
- Fair-Trade Coffee Set: For the coffee lover, this 12 oz. coffee set is blended by OneCup.org, using delicious flavors from Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Costa Rica, and is delivered in a gift bag of African fabric hand-sewn by local women. $65
- Hand-Carved Serving Spoons: A perfect gift for holiday entertaining, each beautiful set of two hand-carved olivewood serving spoons is delivered in a gift bag of African fabric hand-sewn by local women. The serving spoons are made to benefit orphans of the Kamba tribe in Kenya. $65
Be sure to connect with World Vision on their Facebook page at/WorldVision and on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews. You can connect with One Cup Project on Twitter at @OneCupProject. Can you imagine all the lives that could be touched and saved if we ALL roll up our sleeves and did our part?