Gifts That Give Life, Hope and Opportunity…
…gifts that meet needs not wants. Gifts that tread lightly on the earth.
TEAR Australia was established in 1971, and I first came across them in the late 90s. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll have heard me make mention of my ‘village’ (sometimes I call them my cult…but only cause we all drink weak black tea and wherever my dear friend Lyndal goes in Brisbane/the world, she seems to find someone that knows me or of my family/village, which she finds hilarious and she wants in). They were all members of a fabulous EVERYONE (did I mention EVERYONE and ANYONE?) is welcome church (of sorts) that grew out of my parents and their friends involvement in Teen Challenge Australia. I adore these people more than is possible to express in words…and I don’t express it in hugs obviously, because you just watch what happens to me if someone tries to hug me #personalspaceissues. My village are all close family friends (now several generations of them) who know me inside and out and I know that I am loved and accepted by them unconditionally. I digress…
In about 1994/95 I have a distinct memory of the lovely (I feel calm in his very presence) Paul Mercer talking to us about this cool thing TEAR where doing, a ‘Useful Gift Catalogue’. I’m sure it was at a church called St Stephens at Coorparoo and I just remember thinking what a great idea it was to be able to ‘buy’ goats, education and useful items for those living in poverty.
And then…TEAR’s ‘Useful Gifts Catalogue’ quite by accident, became one of the world’s most successful fundraising concepts. The times have changed – and so have the gifts, but underneath it all, TEAR Australia remains committed to the idea that giving more ‘stuff’ isn’t what the world needs. Giving more usefully is. The clip below explains it beautifully.
The lovely team at TEAR recently sent PudStar and ChickPea a miniature popup/colour-in village each to assemble and some postcards which remind us how our gift is helping communities overcome poverty, and as a long time supporter of TEAR I am excited to be sharing the idea with my lovely blog readers this year. As well as books (CLEARLY), I’m hoping that some of you may like to join in the fun and put some of your Christmas budget towards a TEAR ‘useful gift’ this year.
Every item in TEAR’s ‘Useful Gift Catalogue’ (starting from just $5) represents a contribution to a long-term poverty-fighting project. For each gift you purchase, you can Hselect either: a traditional printed greeting card; a card to download and print (pdf; or an E-card; or no card, just a tax-deductible receipt.
Seeing as we now have the village already, we’ve set one of them up at the family home and we’re encouraging extended family to make a donation, pop in spare change as they walk past our TEAR village, or give a portion of pocket money to our TEAR fund and at Christmas we’ll make a donation to TEAR – or purchase another TEAR useful gift. It’s a fabulous way for children and their family, to really visualize what their donation goes towards…I’m really keen to purchase a ‘teacher training’ card or ‘pre-school classes’ for the start of the 2017 school year.
We are so keen to instill in our children the sense that giving is well and truly as wonderful as receiving. I firmly believe that giving to others, and understanding why you are giving, helps to develop empathy, respect, understand and compassion in our young people. I am so fortunate to have grown up in a family where social justice was a given and collaborating with others to work towards common social goals where seen as just part of what we did; I want the same for my children.