Humanitarian gift guide

Nicholas Kristof and I are on the same page about gratuitous holiday gift-giving and how to make it more meaningful:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/opinion/19kristof.html?src=me&ref=general

Excerpt:
“So what would your aunt prefer as a holiday gift — another Mariah Carey CD, or the knowledge that she’s sending a little girl in Haiti to school for a year? Unless you’re cursed with the oddest aunt ever, the answer is probably the latter. In that spirit, this column will serve as a sort of Humanitarian Gift Guide: I’ll lay out some of the loftiest gifts of all, those that touch human lives and connect us. As I did last year, I’m going to skip over the big organizations that most people have heard of.”

Among Kristof’s recommendations:

“First Book (firstbook.org) addresses a basic problem facing poor kids in America: They don’t have books. One study found that in low-income neighborhoods, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. So First Book supports antipoverty organizations with children’s books — and above all, gets kids reading. A $100 gift will supply 50 books for a mentor to tutor a child in reading for a year. And $20 will get 10 books in the hands of kids to help discover the joys of reading.”

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