Save the Easter Chicks! Save the Children!

SEATTLE, April 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- Waking up Easter morning to find a basket filled with chocolates and live chicks is a springtime tradition that dates back to ancient Persian and Egyptian cultures. Chicks -- and their counterparts, the egg -- symbolize fertility and new life, a message today's Christians celebrate at Easter time. But this old tradition sometimes has fatal consequences. The American Humane Association warns that most chicks die within a few weeks due to rough handling or infection. And playing with live chicks or bunnies can be dangerous for children as well; young birds often carry salmonella, which can cause potentially life-threatening illness in humans.

There is a safe way to give live animals at Easter time: give them as gifts to families in need by purchasing the animals through World Vision's Gift Catalog. Rather than becoming an unwanted toy, live animals given to families struggling in the developing world become important sources of income and nutritional food.

"For families in the developing world, a chick is not a toy, not a plaything. It's a matter of survival," says Devin Hermanson, World Vision Gift Catalog National Director. Giving chicks, goats, fish, or even a water buffalo, through the World Vision Gift Catalog offers a new - and safe - twist on the Easter tradition of giving live animals. Through the gift catalog, you can:
  • Purchase two chickens to supply a family with eggs ($25)
  • Buy five ducks and two chickens - a valuable source of needed income ($55)
  • Give a goat, a source of milk and meat for hungry families ($75)
  • Help build a fishing pond and provide fishing equipment ($240)
  • Supply an alpaca for warm wool and increased income ($360, or $15 per share)
  • Buy a dairy cow to provide a family with milk to drink and sell ($500, or $50 per share)
    The gift donor in turn receives a special card describing the gift that was purchased and the impact it will have in the life of a person in need.
The World Vision Gift Catalog offers more than 100 poverty-fighting gifts ranging in price from $10 to $39,000 that can be purchased in the name of a child, friend, or loved one.

"Easter is a time for celebrating new life, and for giving back to others," says World Vision gift catalog manager Devin Hermanson. "There's no better way to celebrate than to provide a source of food and income to a needy family, while teaching your own children about giving to others." Another World Vision giving option helps needy families while filling Easter baskets: donors receive a plush toy - either a chick or a goat - with a gift of $25 or more to World Vision’s Maximum Impact Fund.

Since the Gift Catalog was first introduced in 1996, new gifts have been introduced and its popularity as a gift-giving alternative has grown substantially with more than 100,000 purchases made last year. Goats were the most popular item in 2008: over 30,000 goats were given to families in need thanks to the generous contributions of gift catalog donors.

To order World Vision gifts, visit the web site. To order by phone or to request a print catalog, call toll-free (888) 511-6511.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world's poor, regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.