There have been a number of ads and information in the media lately about gifts for the underprivileged. The message is often to give a gift to a needy person rather than something tangible for someone who has everything.
But please, not goats. Goats are a major factor in the process of desertification. (This is not making something yummy for supper.) This is the transformation of productive land into desert.
The area surrounding the Sahara Desert is an example. The desert is advancing southward, helped by goats which kill the ground vegetation when they graze. They are also browsers, climbing trees to eat the leaves and twigs, eventually killing the trees. These trees may have been the only barrier to hold back the spreading sand dunes.
Instead of goats, why not give “bed kits?” These are supplied by a charity called Sleeping Children Around the World (www.scaw.org). They provide kits for children to facilitate a safe, comfortable sleep.
With the kits are school supplies and clothing. It was founded by the parents of former NHL goalie, lawyer and now senator Ken Dryden. The bedkits are $35 each and include no goats.