When you map out your holiday budget this year, don’t forget to add in some extra funds to gift something more than the latest nifty gadget or trendy-looking sweater.

Several organizations across the Carolinas, nation and world depend on private contributions from people just like you. There’s no better time than the holidays to send some much-needed funds their way.

The world

Groups like Heifer International aide needy families in third world nations.
Groups like Heifer International aide needy families in third world nations.

No matter the economic climate, Americans have a sweet deal. We’re among the wealthiest people in the world. This December, take the time to remember the global community and people who live lives far more difficult than ours.

Groups like Heifer International (www.heifer.org) help struggling families in third-world nations lift themselves out of poverty. For $500, you can single-handedly gift a family the ability to feed and clothe itself. Cattle provide much more than milk, you know. What families don’t drink themselves, they can sell to pay for much needed clothing or medical care. Through Heifer you can also gift a goat ($120), sheep ($120) or a flock of chicks ($20).

The nation
Poverty isn’t just a global issue. While America’s the wealthiest nation, we have our own share of domestic poverty. Families struck by the toughest of times and worst of luck will find it hard to meet just the basic needs in our current economic climate. And, does it surprise you to learn that the majority of all families living under the poverty line live in the South?

Among the hardest hit places in the entire South are the Appalachians. Homes operate without running water or electricity. No heat and no twinkling lights on Christmas trees for these humble abodes. Your gifts to charities like the Appalachian Community Fund (www.appalachiancommunityfund.org) and Appalachian Poverty Project (www.app-pov-proj.org/) aide organizations fighting to keep children and families in their homes and provide them with the most basic of life’s needs.

The Carolinas
Imagine having to chose between paying for medicine and paying your rent. That’s life for many low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS. Give the gift of life this year with donations to Carolinas-based AIDS service organizations. Many of them run food pantries or household utility assistance for paying rent and power for heat.

Metrolina AIDS Project
Triad Health Project
AIDS Benefit Foundation of South Carolina
AIDS Care Service of Winston-Salem
Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina of Raleigh

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.