Each year in memory of Eliza, we make a donation to some kind of charity. Last year it was Living Water International. The year before it was a specific project that a friend of mine was working on through the Peace Corps.
This year we made a microloan to a woman in Pakistan named Saira, who is working to grow her husband's furniture shop. I read about this organization, Kiva, on another blogger's website and clicked over to find out more. Kiva connects with people who are struggling and makes it possible for them to achieve personal and professional goals. You can make microloans in any amount (starting at $25) to help people purchase laptops for higher education, retail merchandise for small businesses, home construction materials, agricultural necessities, etc. How did I choose Saira? Honestly, I got a little overwhelmed with all the options so I chose a woman whose name has five letters and ends in "a." How diplomatic, right?
The idea behind the website is that the loans are precisely that--loans that the borrowers will eventually repay. I chose to do a dedicated loan in memory of Eliza, so when the borrower repays her loan, my portion of it will be dedicated back to Kiva so the organization can continue to do this work. But the idea is that you could loan money to someone and then when they pay you back, you can turn around and loan it to someone else (it goes in and out of your paypal account).
It's important to me to do small acts of kindness in memory of Eliza. But the truth is that I wish that I were making a microloan to this woman and then turning around and ordering books and puzzles and clothes in size 3T or 4T. I wish that I were complaining about how close Eliza's birthday is to Christmas because she's going to get too many gifts. I wish that we were celebrating her birthday with ice cream and a cake with three candles instead of standing outside in the dark, holding candles while it snows.
We miss her and we love and this year we keep doing the best we can to honor her memory. Thanks to all of you who still read here and follow our story and think about Eliza. Your support means so much to us and it fills up my heart to know that there are so many people who miss her along with us.
P.S. Looking to give this year? Here are a few other charities we love to support:
Heifer Project International
Stray Rescue St. Louis
Save the Children