Chicken before the egg

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The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom is encouraging people to abandon buying Easter eggs this year in favor of purchasing a chicken from the Salvation Army International Development (UK) gift catalogue, Gifts That Keep On Giving. Buying such a present will ensure that someone in the developing world will have not only a chicken, but the prospect of lots of eggs, too.

If Britons—who buy around 80 million Easter eggs each year—spent an equivalent sum on chickens, The Salvation Army would be able to provide almost 77 million chickens to people in developing nations.

“Easter means different things to different people,” commented International Development (UK) Director Duncan Parker. “We’d like to encourage people this Easter to…spend a few pounds on someone who could really do with a helping hand. Just one chicken is enough to give someone in the developing world a chance for a better future.”

The catalogue contains other options besides chickens, ranging from fishing boats for Indonesian fishermen who lost their livelihoods in the Boxing Day tsunami to toys for hospitalized children. Along with the gift options, a number of true stories are included to reveal some of the ways The Salvation Army is aiding local poor communities without discrimination around the world. The customer receives a gift card and voucher detailing exactly what was bought. The gift card can then be given as a present while the actual gift goes to help someone who needs it.

The cost of a gift almost always includes some “extras” so it will have an even more positive effect on the lives of the people receiving it. For example, the cost of a water well will usually include allowance for use of local labor, supplies and installation costs of building the well. A small amount is sometimes used to help make people in developed countries aware of the needs of our neighbors in poorer countries.

In the drive to make a better life, the Army has found that people prefer a “hand-up” to a “hand-out.” The Army is working within the recipient communities, allowing the communities to identify their needs and to decide for themselves what the solutions are—working together to break the cycle of poverty by building local capacity and empowering people to make a difference in their own lives.

First launched for the Christmas season, the catalogue is part of the UK Army’s commitment to being good stewards in the sharing of resources for the work of the international Army in the developing world, within countries that look to the Army for support.

Gift prices range from one to 1,000 pounds and cover the categories of agriculture, livestock, kids, people and water.

Gifts may be purchased online at

Sources include the Salvationist, 4 March 2006;; and


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