By Lydia O’Kane
Christmas is a time for giving, but we are also living in an age where people are being asked to reduce waste and protect the environment.
Indeed, the Pope himself has said that “an economic system lacking any ethics leads to a ‘throwaway’ culture of consumption and waste”.
CAFOD, the UK based Catholic aid agency, and member of Caritas International, is inviting people to give gifts that will “delight the people you give them to and help transform the lives of poor communities and families in developing countries.”
The initiative is called World Gifts and has been running for over 10 years. This alternative charity scheme goes to helping CAFOD with their work in the developing world and helps people most in need.
So, instead of that pair of Christmas socks, people can choose from a range of virtual alternative gifts, including water for a family, a helping hand for an older person, or a gift that teaches someone read.
Speaking about the scheme, Becky Such, CAFOD’s World Gifts Co-ordinator says, “we find it’s really popular and we think we are really interacting with that idea of avoiding waste, particular with concerns about climate change and the amount of waste that happens around Christmas. We find more and more people seem to be choosing to give a charity gift instead, knowing that that gift will never go to waste; it’s always going to help people.”
“We know that Pope Francis has talked a lot about the problem of our throw away culture and we think that World Gifts is a wonderful way of avoiding that. It all supports our work and through our Church network with reaching so many people and really getting to grips with what they need, she says.”