CHHS Students to support supporting impoverished

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Features Editor

Twenty-six students in Lesa Wood’s junior English class at Charles Henderson High School did their Christmas shopping from "The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World."

They set their sights on Heifers for the Holidays, but found the price a little out of their reach. So, they settled for the gift of goats, the shear joy of sheep and chickens for Christmas.

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And, each and every student said these might be the most important gifts they

have ever given.

The idea to support Heifer International with Wood, who is a longtime contributor to the organization, that has for more than 50 years, provided livestock and training to more than four million families around the world.

"I suggested Heifer International as part of our random act of kindness project," Wood said. "When the students heard about Heifer International and all the good it does, they were so excited they immediately began to reach in their pockets."

Wood said her students keep a "Random Act of Kindness Journal" in which they record their random acts of kindness – for themselves alone.

"The purpose of a random act of kindness is to do something good for someone without getting a pat on the back for it," she said. "We aren’t going public with our Heifer for the Holiday project to get credit for it. We just want others to know about the program in hopes that they, too, might find it worthy of their support."

The program operates on the same principle as "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life."

"Heifer International is a non-profit organization that helps hungry people feed themselves, earn income and care for their environment," Wood said. "The way it works is that a family, that is in desperate poverty, is trained to care for and feed a female animal. It might be a heifer, a sheep, a goat, a pig, a buffalo or chickens. When the trainer is satisfied that the family is competent to look after an animal, they are given one with the understanding that when that animal reproduces, the first female is to be given to another family in need, after that family learns to care for the animal."

Wood said that before a female animal is placed with a family, there has to be a male animal of the same species in their village.

"The purpose of the program is for one family after another to learn to care for animals that can provide them with milk and, as the herd grows, meat," Wood said. "By doing so, the quality of life improves for each family and ultimately the whole village."

The 26 students, who participated in the Heifer for the Holidays project, shunned fund raising efforts, and donated all the money themselves.

"I told them that I would match whatever they gave," Wood said. "They were very generous in their giving. We had several other students on campus who wanted to be a part of the project and they gave also."

The students came up short of being able to buy a heifer, but they did purchase a sheep, that will be given to a family in the United States, a goat, that will go to a family in Romania and a flock of chickens aptly headed for New Guinea.

"The students realize these gifts of random kindness will have a great impact on the lives of the families that receive them," Wood said. "Not just this Christmas, but in years to come. Their gifts could save lives, not just in these three families, but throughout their villages because of the ripple effect of their giving. Heifer International is the prefect act of random kindness."

The cost of Heifer for the Holidays gifts vary from $500 for a heifer to $120 for a goat to $20 for a flock of chickens. Shares of "gifts" are also possible in amounts from $10 up.

For more information about Heifer International call toll free (800) 422-0755 or visit their website at