MAMMOTH SPRING -- For years the employees of the city of Mammoth Spring have exchanged Christmas gifts among themselves. This year the 11 city employees, including the mayor, decided they would take a different approach to the holiday season.
The employees decided they would all donate what money they would usually spend on gifts for their fellow employees to a worthwhile charity.
The employees collected $150 and decided Heifer International would be their charity of choice.
Deputy Recorder/treasurer Jacque Roy had heard about the charity for years and was instrumental in the final decision regarding the charity.
Heifer International is connected with World Vision. It offers anyone the opportunity to help a child or family in another part of the world by donating funds and designating what the funds will go to purchase.
"We bought a dairy goat and a hive of honey bees," Roy said. She said she did not know where the goat or the bees would be going. "They could be sent anywhere from South America to Asia or Africa or India or somewhere else," Roy said.
Roy said the employees made the decision about the dairy goat because they thought it would be a lasting meaningful way to help a struggling family on the other side of the world.
Information from Heifer International said goats thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by eating grass and leaves. The gift of a goat can supply a family with several quarts of milk a day and a ton of milk a year.
Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families use goat manure to fertilize gardens. And because goats often have two or three kids a year, families can start a small dairy.
Heifer International said the bees will help the families through the sale of honey, beeswax and pollen.
Beehives require almost no space and once established are inexpensive to maintain. As bees search for nectar they pollinate plants.
Beekeeping can become a family's livelihood.