Think outside the gift box this holiday season

Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope make the perfect gift for everyone -
and change lives across the world

CANADA, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - Holiday shoppers can avoid crowded shopping malls and late-night wrapping, and make gift giving easier, this season while supporting real projects that change real lives. As one of the world's oldest and largest international development agencies, Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope are a thoughtful and creative gift-giving solution that has the perfect something for everyone. Think Rapidly Reproducing Bunnies ($35) for newlyweds, Library in a Box for Haiti ($60) for book lovers or Emergency Essentials ($50) for the friend who is always there for you.

"Our Gifts of Hope program is a unique opportunity to turn holiday gift giving into lasting support for children and their families in developing countries," said Paula Roberts, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Development for Plan Canada. "Access to food, clean water, education, safe pregnancies and a family income are just a few ways these gifts can make real-life changes."

Gifts of Hope are a great way to raise awareness about development issues with friends and family. Parents can teach their children about a world of need beyond their doorsteps and about how donations make life better for kids, just like them, in other parts of the world. For example, with the gift of Three Baby Chicks, children will learn that once these chicks grow up they start laying eggs and become an instant source of income, often for women, who sell the eggs, breed the chickens and help provide for their families.

Plan Canada is inclusive of all faiths and cultures and the Gifts of Hope catalogue reflects this by offering a variety of choices for people who celebrate occasions in different ways and at different times of the year. The catalogue also offers plenty of options for all budgets - with gifts starting at $12. Many available Gifts of Hope are matched by a government, foundation or organizational partner to make them worth up to 14 times their donation value. Matched gifts are about strength in numbers, making the gift go even further.  For example, if a gift giver purchases Classroom Essentials ($17 for one child), that same amount will be contributed three times to the program.  This means extra dollars are going into helping stock classrooms with chalkboards, maps, desks, chairs, textbooks, pencils and paper to enable children to get an education.

"I like that it offers a range of affordable gift choices, and that I can shop conveniently online or by phone," said Suzanne McDougall, a Gifts of Hope donor for the past five years. "Most important to me, though, is knowing that when I buy one gift I am really giving to more than one person - that 'pay it forward' effect. Last year, I bought a Beekeeping Kit for my father-in-law and he said it was the most creative and touching gift he received!"

Looking for more unique, gift-giving ideas? Here are some new Gifts of Hope this year:

  • For the person who has everything - Peanut Butter Project ($35): help bring healthy, tasty peanut butter - made locally and packed with protein - to growing children in parts of the world where protein isn't easy to come by. This gift also supports women's peanut butter co-operatives by providing training in peanut processing and business skills.
  • For the social person who is always buzzing around town - Beekeeping Kit ($55): beekeeping can quickly be turned into a flourishing family business that generates an income and the ability to pay for such things as food, housing and healthcare. This gift includes honey bees, a hive and all the tools required to sweeten a family's future for years to come!
  • For the motorcycle lover or daredevil - Motorcycle Ambulance ($150): made for communities that are long distances away from hospitals and healthcare, these motorcycles with attached carts are life-saving modes of transportation - bringing sick people in remote communities closer to critical help and  medical attention.
  • For the new mom - Deliver a Healthy Baby ($200): a mother's health is essential for ensuring the health of her baby - and to her own well-being. This gift supports maternal care initiatives in parts of the world where maternal mortality rates are high and child mortality rates are even higher. By providing training to female community volunteers and birth attendants, this gift helps mothers take care of themselves and their babies.

Gifts of Hope can be easily purchased over the phone at 1-800-387-1418 or online at plancanada.ca/gifts. Recipients will receive a greeting card letting them know about their personal gift and a tax receipt is issued to the donor.

About Plan Canada
Plan is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. Founded in 1937, Plan is now one of the world's oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. For more information, visit plancanada.ca.

SOURCE Plan Canada

For further information:

To arrange an interview, or to acquire images or an electronic copy of the 2011 Gifts of Hope catalogue, please contact:

Abigail Brown
Plan Canada
Office: 416-920-1654 ext 277
Cell: 647-971-3764
abrown@plancanada.ca

Shannon Mitchell
Hill & Knowlton
416-413-4642
shannon.mitchell@hillandknowlton.ca

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