Giving Small

       Don't Have a Cow!  Give a Cow to Someone Who Needs It

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

* Cow-munity Pulls out the Stops in December

Receipt for cow and loom

Receipt for cow and loom for a weaver in Ecuador

So with this purchase marks the addition of Coco to our fine herd of dairy cows. Coco can be for cocoa made with chocolate and milk or Coco Channel, a cow with class? Coco was a popular cow name suggested by Jim and Jane Dysart in Toronto, Sabrina in Washington DC and Celeste in Saskatoon.

Together we have done each contributed many big and small acts of generosity resulting in some amazing gifting and hope for new lives for families. Special thanks to Felix for sharing the word "cowmunity" which he saw on the back of German chocolate written in German and starting with kuh for cow. (For a wee bit of fun, visit their site and click on the cow and doorbell.) That's what we've become -- a cowmunity. Here's what we bought next:

  • beehives for 3 families in Egypt
  • goats for 4 families in Bangladesh
  • 2 chickens and rooster for a family in Mozambique
  • pigs for 2 families in Mozambique
  • cows for 2 families in Bangladesh
  • farming tools and seeds for a family in the Sudan
  • small business support in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Honduras
  • training for youth in Haiti

Receipt for cow, goats, beehive, training, seeds sudan etc.

Receipt for cow, beehives, goats, pigs, farming tools, small business support and skills training. Note: 2 goats, 2 beehives and 1 goat where pledged and donated by wonderful neighbor and friend Urve - I hit her up for one beehive, what can I say? Persuasive or what? The truth is Urve is generous and supports lots of wonderful projects.

In this batch of animals was cow #14 - yes #14! This cow has a Scandinavian name -- Inger which means beautiful. I know there's a story behind the names Gord suggested which included Inger but he opened the cow kimino to tell it yet.


In total we had $1407.48 pledged and donated and collected in December from personal gifts, virtual cow sales, recycling bottles and cans, Canadian Tire money, cash donations, coupon trading,and Shopper's Optimum Points.

For those of you that enjoy the nitty gritty details, here's how it breaks down.

ActivityAmount Raised
Kijiji Virtual Garage Sales$676.75
Cash Donations$362.94
Bottles and Cans$199.94
Canadian Tire Money and Optimum Points$167.85
Coupon Trading$8.40

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

* Moo-ry Christmas Card to All of You

Moo-rry Christmas Card

Julie and her friend Gray designed a special cow card for the holidays and here it is for you to see online. I had hoped to get a big email message out but I pretty busy in the cow barn organizing things.

So here is the card for you.

Please take a moment to send this card on to someone you think might find the project interesting or print off copies of the 5 Small Ways to Help Give a Cow to share with friends and family who may be willing to help - after all most Canadians get coupons, Canadian Tire money and Shopper's Optimum points and some of us find them a nuisance so why not pop them in the mail for the cow to:
Giving Small, 438-5th St. East, Saskatoon, SK, S7H 1E9

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Inside Pages of the Card

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Inside Pages of the Card

Happy Holidays from Darlene & All the Cows

5 Small Ways to Help Give a Cow

Tip: To print, on a PC, right mouse click on the image and click on "show image". Then use your browser to print it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

* Hip Hip Mooo-ray for Livelihood Gifts

Supercow gets her Mickey ears!

Supercow gets her Mickey ears! - Photo by Huro Kitty via Flickr

The Giving Small project definitely has legs this month, almost as many as centipede. So many people are helping out. We have raised and pledged $1108.34 since December 1. All the livelihood gifts are $1650 so we may just make it.

This first week of December started off on a roll with Kate and Murray popping by to purchase something from the virtual cow sale, contribute their penny jar, drop off 2 big bags of bottles. This felt like winning the lottery as Kate pledged to support the Weaver in Peru, too.

As always Kate arrived when I was having a moment of doubt - should I have asked people to make a pledge / contribute one of the livelihood gifts like I did? Was this okay or not okay? Thanks to Kate's pledge, I plunged in and starting asking others to pledge and my neighbor Urve, a Street Cat Rescue champion, agreed to do 2 beehives. By the middle of December she more than doubled her offer and bought 2 goats and pig as well as the 2 beehives.

The virtual garage sale got a huge boost from two donors. Amy, who is moving to New Zealand, contributed left over items from her moving sale. Some of her things have gone to an Aids Cloting Depot but she has many items such as beautiful Ikea prints, oodles of kitchenware things, candles, paper and office supplies, cork bulletin board etc that are selling well. Thanks Amy - you're moorific.

Joanne was another big virtual cow donor - also on the move but just within the city so again lots of household things, toys, books and more. Joanne and I discussed having the funds raised go towards the "pig" so I definitely think we have helped give a oink oink here and a oink oink there as well as a bit of moo. Thanks for your support Joanne - you're moo-valous.

I think we can say that we've has earned our Mickey ears.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

* Heart Warming Moments on the Cow Trail

You iz a cumfy kitteh

Photo by AussieGold via Flickr

It's been a month of truly wonderful and remarkable events on the cow trail. Something about this adventure reminds me of the rail travelogues by Paul Theroux, in particular, The Iron Rooster and The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas. Paul describes in detail the exotic locales, people, sites and sounds. In my case, it's like a train of people, each with their own stories and a train of things, each destined to move from one owner to the next that pass through my life. It's all connected together by Giving Small so a family can have a cow.

Just like on Paul's travels there are moments that stand out. Sometimes it's about the people and sometimes it's about the heightened senses when one takes a risk by venturing off the beaten path and sometimes it's a special object.

I wanted to share a few vignettes of the special moments with you. There's so many that your ears would fall off if I told them all.

One of wonderful moments that stand out this month is a pancake breakfast with Tess. Tess recently moved to Saskatoon with her with her family from the Philippines. I met Tess in August through Kijiji and we talked about the cow. She recently emailed to say she had $32.45 from bottles the cow (moo-valous) and would I like to come over for pancakes? I was really touched - here's someone I had talked to a bit and had a couple of emails and I was invited into their home. I've wanted to talk to Tess, learn more about her journey to Canada and why the cow resonates with her, so off I went to see her new home and her new livelihood - she's started a licensed daycare - it's beautiful area that's she set up. It was interesting how our lives had so many parallels even though we grew up on opposite sides of the world. I'm looking forward to more breakfasts (she makes awesome pancakes)!!! and great conversations.

Another special moment was when a colleague and good friend Sabrina from Washington DC, who posted on her blog last month about the cow project, not just any blog but a very widely read one. Recently Sabrina contributed $100 towards the livelihood gifts and designated some of it for a goat. Sabrina -- you're moo-rific. Thanks for you support and encouragement on so many levels.

Whenever I try something new, like the Shopper's Bonus points "tell a friend", I have butterflies - is it too far off the cow path? Will it work? I'm a believer in what Dr.Linus Pauling once said, "“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. .." The trouble is along the way you also have some pretty bad ideas too. This time it was Patrick from the Archives who gave me a big boost by replying to my Shopper's invitation and persevering as we worked out a hiccup. We still have to sort out getting our bonus for being Shopper's BFF but I was moo'ved by his willingness to help out. Patrick is a source of great cow money raising ideas some of which involve beer and other beverages - stay tuned for those in the New Year.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

* How will Coupons, Points and Canadian Tire Money help Give a Cow?

Fruit Loops Coupon, 1964

Photo by Roadsidepictures
Fruit Loops Coupon, 1964

This is a great question. Many of the Canadian cow supporters received an email from me about the Shopper's Optimum "Tell a Friend" bonus points weekend and some of you are wondering how will this work in practice.

Basically any points earned through this event or other similar promotions, I will earmark for the "cow". So the cow has 15,000 optimum points (sitting my account ... we can't really create an account for Elsie or Bubbles :-) so I'll need to keep track).

Updated Simpler Optimum Approach -December 30, 2009

All points in my Optimum account including what I earn personally for shopping will be in the pot for the cow. So there's no need to keep track of what's mine or what's the cow's. So all my card's points are the cow project.

Ideally we convert points to rewards when the cow accumulates 75,000 points. At that point someone(s) have to use up the head over to Shopper's and collect $150 of stuff and check out redeeming the "cow" reward points.

Say it's 3 people who each got $50 of stuff (no cash was given to the cashier) as I used the cow "redemption points". I would ask each of these people to pay me the cash for their purchases so I have put the cash towards the cow.

In some instances we may be doing a "local" giving-small activity, where we can simply purchase groceries, shampoo or diapers to drop off at the local charity/agency.

It might be simpler to use the Cow Optimum Points for a local charity but either is doable than rounding up people to "shop" at the same time but we'll see what works. So far I have one person who buys a lot at Shopper's who is willing to help out the cow by going with me and using the cow redemption points at the cashier from the "cow" card and then providing us with the cash to purchase the cow.

How Can You Help Out?

So do you shop have Shoppers Optimum points you don't care about? Or have you not bothered to collect because you'd never get to 75,000 or you find it pointless? Please pick up or show your card the next time you pay at Shopper's. The card is free and instantaneous to get. Start collecting. Tip - they can add your card number at the pharmacy prescriptions one time so it's used everytime without having to show it.

Every few months you can transfer the points to the cow card account with a couple of clicks. This is one of the real nice features of the Shopper's Drug Mart program - you can transfer your points to anyone and there's no fee.

The following table shows the more you collect the better the reward deal.

Shoppers Drug Mart Reward Schedule

Points Required Reward
7000 $10
15000 $25
30000 $55
40000 $75
75000 $150

Update on the Optimum Points "Refer a Friend"

Three people joined up as friends by clicking the invite link. Thank you - you're moo-valous to do this. We have contributed 15,000 points to the cow. If we converted TODAY, we made $25.00 just by doing what we were going to do - buy $20 of stuff at Shopper's. How much is $25.00? It's 250 bottles - that's like 3 big garbage bags of bottles. We definitely made hay!

This good news is this was a win-win. Each person who became a friend, also got 5,000 bonus points for filling in 3 fields on the Shopper's Optimum site and completing their shop - so kinda like getting paid $7.50 for going to Shopper's to help the cow :-).

What about Canadian Tire (CT) money

Now I know some people hoard their Canadian tire money and dream of buying a new snow blower. Keep saving. Others find it a bit of nuisance -- forget it in the car or in the drawer. So why not drop it off for the cow if you're not saving for your dream home?

I'll work the CT money the same way as the Shopper's redemption. I'll find someone who is going to buy something at Canadian Tire, pay with the cow's CT money and ask the person to give me the real money they would have given the cashier so we can buy cows. Again if we're working on a local charity - say Habitat for Humanity we could buy a sink, toilet, shower .. or what the heck a snow blower for them.

What about Coupons?

Coupons are still the great unknown but I'm starting to experiment with them. There is an incredibly huge and active online community of freebie, deal hunters and coupon users. And they trade coupons actively and they will trade coupons for Canadian Tire money, Shopper's Drug Mart points and stamps.

In a micro-giving economy of Giving Small, coupons might work. It remains to be seen how much work they'll be and how much gain. Basically I hope you help me to collect coupons (especially those ones off cereal boxes and Pizza Pops etc that say "try this product free" or Buy One Get One Free as well as any others you come across. I'll try to trade the coupons to bargain hunters for a percentage of the coupon value for Canadian Tire money, points etc.

The pluses of coupons for me are they're smaller than bottles and take up much less room than garage sale items. I could probably get 1000 coupons and still have room in my garage LOL. At this moment in time I can't see my ping pong table at all due to piles of books (many healing and new age related titles by the way), some great children's books, CDs and a wack of household stuff.

Have a Micro Giving Idea

Do you know another way that small actions could help fund the cow? Let us know.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

* Q: Why Did the Cow, the Lama and the Goat Race across the Road?

A: They didn't want to get creamed!

Think you can come up with a better cow joke or story? Please share it with us all by clicking on comment link below this post.

Speaking of stories, I sent a link to the cow blog to my friend in Kathy in New Jersey. After all living in a state named after such a fine breed of cows, I was optimistic she might be sympatico with cows and recyclying. Turns out she's mad about recycling and picks up bottles where ever she spots them too and writes: "Crazy! Here in NJ, tho, it all goes thro municipal and we can’t turn stuff in for $$. (too bad; I’d be rich!)"

Kathy also had some pretty unique giving stories and she's agreed to let me share them with you - perhaps it'll spark some gift giving idea of your own. We still have pig that's could use a pledge towards its purchase.

Heifer Int’l is my fav charity, and it’s much like the one you’re working with. ( I just love it. A few yrs back, I was having a big 40th bd party for myself. I knew people would feel obligated to do gifts but I did NOT want any more STUFF, esp stuff from (well-meaning) folks who had no idea what I’d like or use. So in my invites I said that, IF they wanted to give, I WANTED A GOAT FOR MY BDAY. in lieu of gifts, I asked, pls donate to Heifer in my name, to get a goat. To me, goats seemed the most super-useful animals, plus I’m a Capricorn and so if this was for my bday, I had to make it a goat.

Goats and Kathy Look Over the Fence

(CC) Goats in this photo from incurable hippie

I didn’t expect much to happen; figured I’d get maybe half a goat (think it was $125). Imagine my surprise when I ended up getting 2.5 goats for my bday!!!! My husband did one (he was afraid I’d be crushed if nobody did anything); another couple bought one, and other donated bits & pieces that added up to another half. I was “over the moooo-n” as you might say. ;->

A couple yrs later, a very environmental / global friend was getting married. (in fact you know her – Betsy, my former editor, my former editor on CIL) she is BIG into not having STUFF that sits around, so for her wedding we gifted them a llama from Heifer. They were shocked but once they learned about it, thought it was really cool. And were happy not to have a 12th set of unnecessary glassware that would gather dust.

So those are my giving stories.

Have a gifting story or a cow story of your own? Not sure what to buy the "hard to buy for person for Christmas", try a lama. Oxfam New Zealand has donkeys that you can buy. Ain't the Internet grand?

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

* A Big Mooo for Nancy: A Lover of Retro Chairs

Pint Sized Green Chairs for Kid's Kitchen Play Area
Pint sized retro chairs - about 2 feet high

Kijiji is wonderful in so many ways for Giving Small. First, posting a classified ad is free so it makes a virtual cow garage sale possible. Secondly we get to meet great people, some of whom catch the "giving small" spirit. Nancy was one of those people. She came by to pick something up and we chatted about the cow project and she said she might have some things for the cow.

About three weeks later, Nancy emailed to say she had some chairs and things. I said "I'd love them" with a few milk drops of some trepidation -- I had 6 "so-so" chairs that I couldn't sell 2 months. Secondly, I knew my space was limited - I was going to have up using Urve's garage when the snow fell which given it was mid-November was overdue.

So acting on trust that the universe would only send me good things for cow -- after all cow karma has to count to towards something -- I drove over to Nancy's to see an array of unique and wonderful furniture on her lawn.

I don't really know how Nancy, her husband and I got all of the chairs and tables and other things in the van, but we did. You see Nancy is passionate about retro chairs and has some wonderful older 1960's items. About half of the items she gave me were snapped up immediately and I still have a few. Part of me wants to keep the green chairs (so cute) but they are for the "cow" and I wouldn't want to attract any bad karma.

The photo above shows the "pint" sized green chairs, child-sized chairs that probably went with a minature arborite topped kitchen table that were in vogue for kids in the 70's and 80's. Have a niece or a nephew? Child or grandchild? These small green chairs are STILL AVAILABLE for "Best Offer". This could be a very unique Christmas gift.

Some of the other retro chairs available are:

Two Blue Chairs with Chrome
Tall Stool

Check out all the Virtual Cow Sale Items on Kijiji.

Nancy's donations to the garage sale have funded about a quarter of a cow - pretty moo-valous! Thanks Nancy. Keep on spreading the word about the cow to friends, coworkers and family.

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Technorati Profile

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

* I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends

The Cow and Friends Photo Gallery

Photo by andystoll

While there are plenty of books posted on Kijiji, few sell quickly if at all there.

What was I to do?

I had an ah-ha moment. Gotta savour those and remembered Lee, a web developer that I've worked with on many projects, had built a nice bookstore for his sister and she was selling online. So with some help from Debra from Trylinski Books, I was able save a ton of time and trial and error and get great advice about best bets for selling online.

Looks like we'll try selling on I also have the books on display at the front and hope to attract impulse buys when folks pick up other Kijiji items.

Cover of White Trash Cooking
Some of the books people donate for the cow sale are great. Some are downright unusual - anyone interested in a copy of White Trash Cooking (cover is no longer pristine like this one - it's dogeared, frayed with a few crinkles but it could be considered a feature and in keeping with the book's theme?).

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* Green Christmas Good News for Cows

Olive the Other Reindeer

Photo by altopower via Flickr - Olive, the Other Reindeer

Recycling doesn't have to end with bottles and cans. Take a leaf from Cindy's book and make your Christmas a little greener.

A couple of weeks ago, Cindy came over to buy all of the wooden picture frames. We talked about Christmas and cows and also gift giving. She commented how years ago they'd exchange names and make gifts but there wasn't time to do that anymore.

Her family has moved to a "green" Christmas - you can't buy anything new so they haunt Value Village, Kijiji and other sources for used items.

I had collected quite a few photo frames so Cindy was in luck and so was the cow.

Cindy was also so moo-valous - she came back and dropped off six bags of bottles and cans the next day. Thanks Cindy for all the help with the cow.

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