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Manson church members give the gift of goats

Heifer International isn’t just about cows, they learn

December 13, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

MANSON - Give a goat for Christmas.

That's not a gag gift, by any means. People worldwide would welcome the gift of a goat, whether at Christmas or any time of year. Anyway, that's what Don Sutter says.

Sutter does volunteer work for the Manson Mennonite Church and as an advocate for those in need ran across the Heifer International program and its gift catalog, called "the most important gift catalog in the world." The organization offers heifers, of course, but also goats, sheep, chickens, llamas, honeybees, water buffalo, pigs, ducks, geese, rabbits, and even tree seedlings.

"Oh, my, they've got so many things you can work toward," he said. "When Bonnie (his wife) was Sunday school superintendent, I think the children raised money for a heifer, so it was not new to us. But I didn't know anything about this goat thing."

When the couple discovered this goat-giving possibility, they decided to offer church members a chance to be part of the giving and placed brochures in member mailboxes at the church.

Goats, he said, "are pretty self-sufficient. You don't have to feed them much, and they're a gentle animal, really. Many of these go to the Third World countries, although some go to the United States too."

Fact Box

Heifer International

For more information or to establish a Heifer endowment in the name of a friend or family member, call (888) 422-1161 or go to

Since 1944, Heifer International has helped 9.2 million families in more than 125 countries toward greater self-reliance through the gift of livestock and training in environmentally sound agriculture.

The gift of a goat is $120, with the share of a goat just $10. Every animal can be purchased outright or as a share and every animal costs a different amount, up to the gift of an ark for $5,000. That includes two of every available animal.

For a $120 donation, the organization will send goats - a male and a female - somewhere in the world. Donors do not get to choose where their gift goes.

"Goats will give up to a gallon of milk a day, so they can have leftover milk," Sutter said. "It's quite a money-making project for a family. And these are needy families. They're in poverty, and this helps them be self-sufficient. When you have a male and a female goat, you get goat kids, and they can raise goats and maybe pass one along to another family or use it themselves to make some extra money."

Several people in the church have donated money to buy goats, Bonnie Sutter said. In fact, the couple donated goats to Heifer International in the name of a great-grandson.

"The organization furnishes a gift card to send to the person you're honoring with the goat," Don Sutter said. "They'll know it's going to a needy family in their name."

Contact Sandy Mickelson at 573-2141 or



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