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Idaho Holiday Gifts Reach Around the World

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 By Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Contact
December 11, 2006

Boise, ID - The average Idaho family is expected to spend at least $440 on holiday gifts this year, according to The Conference Board. For shoppers stuck for gift ideas, here's a charitable option -- Matthew de Galan with Mercy Corps says his organization has seen a trend of "giving in someone's name" to make the season more meaningful. The international aid group has several pre-packaged "Mercy Kits" that provide direct help to people around the world.

"These gifts do something really important long after the holiday season has passed, like getting nutritious food to children in Africa or providing money for a loan to help a woman start a small business in Afghanistan."

De Galan says Mercy Kit sales online have increased every year as people search for gifts -- both for people who "have everything," and those who say they want nothing.

Betsy Dunklin with the Idaho Nonprofit Development Center says the season of giving and the season of "need" don't match up in Idaho, often leaving charities in need of help beyond December.

"It's also important that people consider giving year-round, and volunteering year-round because non-profits have to keep their doors open all year."

"Mercy Kits" range in price from as little as $20 up to $1,000. More information about the kits, and Mercy Corps' projects, is available online at www.mercycorps.org.

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