When half a camel is enough

Today's guest contributor, bestselling author Debbie Macomber, shares her story of teaching her grandchildren a powerful lesson on charity and compassion. Her publisher, Random House, made a generous donation to support World Vision's work to improve education here in the United States.

*     *     *

Every year for my grandchildren’s birthdays, I give them a special gift: a life lesson on charity.

Instead of purchasing them a gift, I allow them to gift another. I do this by handing them a World Vision Gift Catalog, giving them a budget, and letting them choose a gift for another child.

It’s been a joy to watch as they carefully leaf through the pages of the catalog and seek out the perfect gift. I’ve been amazed at their thoughtfulness and their hearts’ desire to help others. The tradition is also a lesson in stewardship: How can they best utilize the resource they have been given? I can think of no better gift for my grandchildren.

Several years ago when my granddaughter, Maddie, was turning 8, she scrutinized the catalog for quite some time, and then announced she wanted to buy a camel for a village. Well, a camel was quite a bit beyond the budget I had provided for Maddie. However, as I explained to her, thanks to the way World Vision structures their program, an individual could buy "half" a camel, and another person would come along and buy the other half.

Still, Maddie couldn’t quite wrap her mind around giving half a camel. I hesitated, then suggested that if she was willing to pitch in her allowance for a month or so, I would purchase the whole camel. Maddie hemmed and hawed, and after some consideration, announced that half a camel was just fine, on second thought.

All of us in the family chuckled, knowing Maddie had just experienced her first lesson in staying within a budget. And I was proud that my granddaughter was putting sincere thought into meeting the needs of people around the world.

When we think about people in need or caring for the poor, it can be easy to picture that happening in a foreign context. But it is important for us to recognize that people in need are everywhere.

One of the many reasons I choose to support World Vision is because they meet needs of people in the United States and around the world. I had the opportunity to visit their headquarters in Federal Way, Washington, and learned about the different facets of their work.

I toured their facilities, where all kinds of corporately donated products are housed. World Vision invites teachers from underfunded schools to their warehouses to shop for their classes for free. I’ve seen for myself the work that this organization does that stretches from right next door to around the world.

Because I have witnessed the impact of World Vision’s work, I was deeply touched when my publisher, Random House, decided to give a generous donation to World Vision. These funds will provide classroom materials for students and schools. I believe that by equipping schools in need, children will be given a chance at a better education. Education has the power to change lives.

This donation is like a stone tossed into a pond, the ripples reaching a wider and wider circle, embracing those most in need -- and that’s why half a camel is enough. No matter what size the donation, lives will be changed, not only for those who receive, but also for those who give.


Looking for the perfect gift to honor Mom this upcoming Mother's Day? Consider giving a gift in her honor through the World Vision Gift Catalog. Browse through more than 100 items that can provide hope and empowerment to children, families, and entire communities in need.

Read more on the World Vision Blog about: Education gift ideas U.S. Programs

Leave a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.