My Favourite Things

21 Oct

In my previous post, I talked about doing the very best with what I have right now and I promised to share with you some of my favourite charities/organizations that are doing great things around the world. These past few days of waiting must have been torturous for you! Hush now, dearie; Momma-Nita’s here to make it all better. So without further ado, here are my Favourite Things (somewhat like Oprah’s Favourite Things, except my favourite things actually help other people and save lives as opposed to convincing you that your life is meaningless without thousand-dollar slippers):

First up: Samaritan’s Purse.There are two projects within Samaritan’s Purse that I want to highlight, both of which can be accessed from their home page. First is Operation Christmas Child (OCC). In the summer of 2004, I was visiting an orphanage in South Africa and was delighted to see that all the children had these beautifully wrapped shoeboxes filled with gifts from donors like you. I had heard about OCC, but meeting a few of the children who had received the gifts and seeing how much they cherished them made the whole concept very real to me. Since then, filling OCC shoeboxes has become a family tradition. It’s such an easy way to give. It’s a tangible and fun way to teach charitable giving to our kids. And these boxes actually do end up in the hands of children across the world who otherwise wouldn’t get any gifts at Christmas.

Samaritan’s Purse also has a Christmas Gift Catalog. This is a fantastic way to donate towards a specific cause that you are personally passionate about. You can give towards medical supplies, disaster relief, clean water, anti-trafficking, orphan care, school construction, mosquito nets…  You can give just because you want to, or you can give in honour of someone else. This is an awesome Christmas gift idea – for those people on your list who don’t need more stuff, and for all the teachers/coaches/mailmen etc. who probably don’t want another mug filled with chocolate.

There are a few big charities that do this catalog idea, and there are certainly pros and cons to these types of fundraising campaigns. However, we have compared several of them and Samaritan’s Purse is our chosen winner. We like their integrity in the high percentage of donated money that goes directly to the ministry that it was intended for.

Now that you’ve done all your Christmas shopping, let’s move onto this very cool business loan organization. Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” You are the lender. You register an account and deposit as little as $25 into it. Then you look through the pages of borrowers and choose one that you want to lend your $25 to. Borrowers are small-business owners around the world who need a boost to grow their business so they can better provide for themselves and their families. The needs are pretty simple:  some extra sewing supplies or a cow or upgrading their store shelving or hiring a worker. A realistic repayment schedule is in place for each borrower, and as they repay, it goes back into your kiva account. When you regain your $25, you can loan it to someone else. It’s a great way to help someone out with very little risk and expense.

Maybe you’re looking for a smaller (more personal) organization to support on an ongoing basis. Maybe you have an insatiable compassion for orphans, but the world-wide needs are too overwhelming and you don’t know where to start. Here are two ministries that I love.

We visited Embracing Hope Ethiopia on our most recent trip to Ethiopia last Christmas.  There is so much I could say about how great their work is and all that they’re doing, but I just wouldn’t do them justice. Please visit the website and browse around. All I can add is that they are legit and they are passionately in love with the beautiful people they serve.

God’s Littlest Angels is an orphanage in Haiti. I haven’t visited it personally, but I did research this ministry extensively when it was looking like our church might send a team there a couple of years ago. I have since kept tabs on how things are going as they continue to rescue and care for orphans. Haiti is still in very desperate need since the earthquake. Thousands of people are still living in tent cities (also called rape camps) without clean water, sufficient food, or adequate clothing and shelter. GLA is just one of hundreds of organizations making a daily difference there, but it’s one that I’ve looked into and I’m confident in recommending them to you.

Perhaps you are looking for an organization that is fighting a bold fight against sex trafficking. Ratanak is just the thing you’re looking for! Their work in Cambodia is inspiring, challenging, dangerous, life-saving and still insufficient in the face of such ongoing, unspeakable injustice. Please consider partnering with them in some way.

A little bit closer to home (but not close enough for my liking) is PAXnorth, an urban church plant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, pastored by our best friends, Brad and Shelby Somers. You can browse around their website and see what they’re up to. You can well imagine (or maybe you can’t, so I’ll just tell you), when your congregation is filled with people who are living in poverty, there isn’t much in the offering plate each week. God always provides in other ways to meet the church’s needs and to allow them to keep serving homeless people, drug addicts, prostitutes, teen moms, abused kids etc. If you would like to be one of those “other ways”, you can email and ask how you can make a donation.

In a completely different vein (heh heh, that’s funny. Keep reading.), let’s talk about blood donation and other such things.  If you are a healthy adult, you should be giving blood. It’s free and it saves lives. And you get cookies and juice. Go to to get started. Next, you should be an organ donor. Just because you’ve signed that little form that comes with your driver’s license doesn’t mean you are a registered organ donor. Go to to make sure you are registered. (Edit: This website is for residents of Ontario. If you live elsewhere, a quick google search will help you figure out where to register.)

One more thing: have you ever considered stem cell or bone marrow donation? My best friend’s (the aforementioned Shelby Somers) 8-year-old niece was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks ago. They haven’t been talking bone marrow transplants for her yet, but my mind immediately leapt to that. What if it was my child? I would want to already be on the donor list. What if it’s not my child but I’m still a possible match for someone else? I want to already be on the donor list. So I registered online, had a quick phone interview to discuss a couple of past medical issues, received my Buccal Swab Kit in the mail, swabbed my mouth, and sent back my DNA for them to keep on file. Rest assured, if I ever do get chosen as a possible match, I will recount every single detail for you! In the meantime, I am so excited at the possibility. You should do it, too. Tell them I sent you.

Well folks, if you’re still reading – bless you. And I’m sorry. Sorry for boring you and sorry that you were already bored enough to just keep reading. Regardless, there’s my list as it stands right now. If you have had positive or negative experiences with any of my favourites, please share. And if you’d like to add some of your own favourites, you go right ahead and start typing away in that little comments box below.

P.S. Did you notice that I finally figured out how to imbed the websites into my text? I feel another round of lavish self-praise coming on!


Posted by on October 21, 2012 in Mission/Aid work


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10 responses to “My Favourite Things

  1. Shelby Somers

    October 21, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    I had no idea I needed to be registered as well as have things checked off on my health card form and drivers license application to be an organ donor. Either that isn’t plainly written on the forms or I’m just a terrible giver of attention to details on such forms. Good call, Momma-Nita! (P.S. I do love you dearly. That is all.)

  2. Shelby Somers

    October 21, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Oh, that site is just for being an ONTARIO donor. I will look into NS.

    • Anita Neuman

      October 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      I was just going to reply that exact same thing. I went to double-check and realized that it’s an Ontario thing. First clue might have been that it’s on a form that I got from ServiceOntario regarding my license renewal this month. Duh. Apparently I’m a terrible giver of attention to details on such forms.

  3. Gaya

    October 22, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    My favourite is Heart to Heart (H2H). It is comprised of a children’s home, school, and church in Grande Goave, Haiti. A Canadian girl Rebecca Larkin lives there and keeps us informed with her blogs. Follow her and keep in touch with life in Haiti.

  4. Carolyn

    October 30, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    I can’t remember how I started reading but I’ve been checking in off and on the past couple months and read a bunch of your archives. Our family are missionaries with an international arts ministry within a larger organization. I’ve been praying for your family and your son. Anyway, I LOVED this list. I had never heard of KIVA but that is something we are going to look into with our almost 8 yr old with HIS money! We are pretty excited and to be so easily accessible is very cool. I do have to say my husband was quite concerned when he saw my bookmark to your blog from the name =) Anyway, thanks for the list-and I enjoy your humor and your honesty!

    • Anita Neuman

      October 30, 2012 at 7:31 AM

      Wow! Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and especially praying! Where is your family located?
      Sorry for worrying your husband. My husband was rather concerned with the name at first, too. I think he’s used to it now. 🙂

      • Carolyn

        October 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        Right now we base out of our US office in Georgia. We travel (with our 2 kids) about half the year though-mostly to Europe and the Mediterranean region and sometimes Asia. We used to live way up in MN and have some dear friends in Canada. We also have quite the background with church planting woven through our story for the past 12 years and even in what we are doing now. All that is what got me interested in reading more here. Then when I read about the adoption and such I was really in and began praying more. My heart is there, God hasn’t opened doors yet and I see no way with our current travel and lifestyle but I figure if he’s placed that desire he can fulfill it however and whenever he chooses. Anyway, blessings to you and your family too! Stay warm as winter hits up there-I don’t miss that at all!

  5. Tammy Bull

    October 30, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Okay, trying again to get notified of you blogs on a regular basis!
    I love you and I love the way you write with honesty and humility and humor! (I’ll let you know if I think of another ‘h’ word that fits!)
    I just checked my organ donor status, so easy and now so complete…Thanks! Also, signed up to be a stem cell donor as well. That was exciting, actually!
    Only one complaint… why must you use so many exclamation points?! they are so totally unnecessary!!!

    • Anita Neuman

      October 30, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      How about Herculean Heroics? No? Okay fine then, we’ll leave your list as is. Thanks. 🙂
      And I’m SO excited you signed up to be a stem cell donor! I am really hoping I get matched as a donor!


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