Memorable gifts are those that can make a difference

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(StatePoint) -- Better than any toy, trinket or fruit basket, what if you could give a gift that would actually make a profound difference in someone's life?

The holidays are the perfect time to reach out to the less fortunate. Two ways to do that can be done either locally and or by helping people in a crisis zone.

Many people have made it a yearly tradition to volunteer at a soup kitchen during the holidays.

You can help the homeless and hungry get a hot meal and give them the small gift of a full stomach. In Walla Walla you can contact the Christian Aid Center, which operates a homeless shelter.

If you don't have time to volunteer, consider donating non-perishable goods, as many soup kitchens have a food pantry as well.

A gift from the mall is nice, but donating to a philanthropic organization on behalf of a loved one is a more meaningful way to celebrate the holidays.

There are an estimated 40 million people around the world who have been uprooted from their homes by war and disaster.

They live in limbo, struggle to survive and have no place to call home.

By purchasing a "Rescue Gift" to honor friends and family in lieu of store-bought presents, you'll be contributing to critical supplies and services for vulnerable families.

The International Rescue Committee's Rescue Gifts offer a wide variety of gifts at various price points.

For example, you can opt to help fund a year of school for girls in Afghanistan, contribute to gardening tools and seeds to help families in need grow food, or help train Burmese refugees, to deliver basic health care.

"These gifts have a tangible impact on the lives of refugees and others who have been displaced by conflict, political upheaval and natural disaster around the world," says Kay Bellor of the International Rescue Committee. "They help families to survive and thrive and last a lot longer than a box of chocolates."

For more information or to give Rescue Gifts visit www.Rescue.org/gifts.

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