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Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006 11:16 am

Give with purpose

Charitable groups here and nationally offer variety of gifts

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2006 — On the Prairie, designed by Stan Squires. Proceeds raise money for St. Joseph’s Home.
There are ways to give without buying into the commercialism of the holiday season. Among our favorite gifts are those that provide year-round enjoyment while supporting a worthy cause. Many charities offer great gift items to raise money, including calendars, cookbooks, and music. Here are a few possibilities.

CLOSE TO HOME

Contact Ministries and child cancer victims benefit from a CD called For the Smallest Angels. Local musicians Debbie Ross, the Groove Daddies, Jill Manning, Eva Hunter, Micah Walk, the Station, Big Fur, Suns of Circumstance, Tom Irwin, the Prairie Pranksters, the River Ramblers, Black Magic Johnson, Frank Parker, Mr. Opporknockity and the Oohs contribute. CDs may be picked up at Contact Ministries, 1100 E. Adams, by calling 217-753-3939 or at the Alternative Holiday Fair. (For more information, go to www.contactministries.net.) Other items available at the Alternative Holiday Fair include coffee to raise money for Positive Options, Referrals, and Alternatives, Sierra Club calendars, and Fair Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate to raise funds for Pax Christi of Springfield. SERRV International’s “a greater gift” will also be represented (www.holidayfair.org). Lost and Found did a CD titled As You Sow for the local Habitat for Humanity in 2005. Copies were available at local coffee shops and still available at Recycled Records for $5. Collectible “official city ornaments” raise money for St. Joseph’s Home (www.abelincoln.com).

NATIONALLY

There are several “Very Special Christmas” CDs that benefit Special Olympics. You can find your favorite jazz, country, or acoustic music at www.veryspecial.org. Homeless in America: 21 Songs of Social Conscience for the 21st Century is an independent release that includes many genres of music. Freedom Tracks is donating the funds to homeless and similar charities. The CD may be purchased at cost to organizations for fundraising purposes (www.freedomtracks.com). The National Wildlife Federation sells recycled-cotton products and Endangered Species chocolate to raise money for its nature programs (www.nwf.org). A variety of albums support victims of Hurricane Katrina. Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album (2005) features artists from New Orleans and benefits Habitat for Humanity (www.ourneworleans.net/player.html). Proceeds from A Celebration of New Orleans Music to Benefit MusiCares Hurricane Relief 2005 assist musicians affected by the hurricane (www.rounder.com; search “New Orleans 2005”). Higher Ground Hurricane Benefit Concert, recorded live at Lincoln Center in New York City, supports the Higher Ground Relief Fund established by Jazz at Lincoln Center (www.bluenote.com). And Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now RIAA, produced by the Recording Industry Association of America, supports the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and MusiCares Relief 2005 (www.riaa.com).

INTERNATIONALLY

Several CDs assist victims of the tsunami that ravaged Asia, including Hands Across the Water, a combination of country and Celtic (www.handsacrossthewater.com); Tsunami Relief Project, comprising folk, world fusion, jazz and Americana (www.attagirlrecords.com/tsunami); and Songs for Tsunami Relief: Austin to South Asia, recorded in Austin, Texas, in January 2005 (www.losthighwayrecords.com; search “tsunami”). Proceeds benefits international groups such as CARE and UNICEF. The World Wildlife Federation raises funds for “global environmental conservation” in collaboration with Barnes & Noble (endangered-species calendars), Beanie Babies, Build a Bear Workshops (snow leopards/giant pandas) and the Magazine Value Partners online magazine store (www.wwf.org). National Geographic Society publishes the famed magazine but also sells “handcrafted gifts from around the world” (www.nationalgeographic.com).

Most CDs can be purchased at the Web sites listed above. A list of charitable CDs (mainly alternative) is available at www.mistletunes.com. Springfield’s Recycled Records will special-order most of the titles listed.

Carolyn Harmon is a Springfield freelance writer.

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