Oregon LIve Northwest Cook: This Holiday Season, Give A Gift That Helps Needy Animals, Or People


Tange and Flora are among the residents of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the nation’s largest habitat for African and Asian elephants. To minimize intrusions, the sanctuary is closed to the public and therefore relies on donations rather than ticket sales.

The holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re stumped for the perfect gift, allow us to suggest two choices that truly qualify as food gifts that keep on giving:

Adopt an Elephant Campaign: Since 2008, Grandma’s Molasses has been a sponsor of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., where African and Asian elephants retired from circuses and zoos can live out their lives in peace on 2,700 acres of natural habitat. Grandma’s Molasses donates its product to the sanctuary, where it’s used to entice the elephants to take their medicines and dietary supplements by masking their flavor with the sweet taste of the molasses. Through Dec. 31, you can help raise funds for the elephants by “adopting” one with a small donation. For $10 or more you’ll get a certificate of adoption, a subscription to the sanctuary’s newsletter, a coupon for a free jar of Grandma’s Molasses and a recipe for Grandma’s Elephant Bread, from baking blogger Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes. For $30, you’ll also get photos and information about your adopted elephant, and more.

Heifer International: This organization helps to break the cycle of poverty and hunger by providing 30 kinds of livestock, tree seeds and agricultural training to families in more than 42 countries, including the U.S. You can pick something as small as a $10 share of a pig, goat or sheep, or as big as a $250 water buffalo. These gifts are sustainable and turn into more food or added income for recipients, who are required to pass on some of what they gain to help others in their communities. And encouraging your children to help select the animal is a great way to introduce them to charitable giving. You can browse Heifer’s extensive catalog, or donate online.