Uplands PEAK Sanctuary

Uplands PEAK Sanctuary in Salem, Indiana.

Provided

This is the big week.

No, not Thanksgiving. The day after that, or for some, later Thanksgiving night.

I am talking, of course, about the start of the annual Christmas shopping season.

I intend in upcoming weeks to share tips about buying animal-free and cruelty-free gifts for your love ones.

But today I want to encourage a little different approach at gift giving - purchasing from and/or contributing to various organizations working hard to ease the suffering of animals.

Just more than half of the charitable organizations surveyed a few years ago said they receive the majority of their contributions between October and December, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.

So this is an important time of the year for these organizations.

But choosing this type of gift does more than just provide much-needed financial assistance to these groups. It is also an opportunity to help educate others and spread the word about animal suffering, while showing ways to help.

Nearly every major animal rights organization offers various products for sale and/or opportunities to contribute or "adopt" an animal. Just pick your favorite, visit their website and start shopping.

Another consideration is giving locally to groups in the state, which do not get national attention and don't have huge budgets for publicity.

One option is Uplands PEAK Sanctuary in Salem, Indiana, which is the state's only farm animal sanctuary.

The sanctuary website offers products for sale and encourages signing up with Amazon Smile so it receives a donation with each of your future online purchases. The sanctuary also has an Amazon wishlist.

The Indiana Animal Rights Alliance is another local organization which can use your financial support in its upward fight to ease the suffering of animals in this heavily agricultural state. Visit their website to learn more and how you can help.

These are perfect gifts for all those on your list who seem to have everything. A gift that goes on to help others is something they may not yet have.

The opinions expressed here are solely that of the author.

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Bob is a 22-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.