The Gift That Keeps on Giving: One Family’s Thanksgiving Tradition

This year, holiday traditions may look a little different. But one thing doesn’t have to change – the way we focus on gratitude, generosity and community – even from afar. For Jim and Mary Lois Kuhns, one of their favorite holiday traditions involves just that – compassion for their neighbors in need.

Jim and Mary Lois are longtime supporters of Medical Teams. They’ve given loyally for over 30 years. They donate every month, but also give extra gifts when a need touches their heart. This year alone, they’ve made gifts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beirut blast, and hurricane and fire relief efforts.

Jim and Mary Lois also plan to make a gift through the gift catalog – and that’s where their tradition comes in.

A Multigenerational Tradition

Years ago, Jim came up with the idea of choosing items out of the gift catalog with their four grandkids. Every year, on Thanksgiving, he would gather his grandchildren together on the couch to go through the catalog. Each grandchild got to pick out one gift that meant something special to them. For the three girls, it often had to do with mothers and children. They especially liked choosing gifts that would help pregnant women have safe deliveries.

Their family appreciates having a gift catalog to share with their grandchildren because it provides tangible ways to help as well as stories of people in need. It helps provide perspective for their many blessings.

“We don’t have to consider those things because it’s not an issue for us. You see how hard life is for others and what a small thing it is to make a big difference. We always round it up and add our own gift when the grandkids are done.”

Small Gifts Have Big Impacts

Jim and Mary Lois recognize that every dollar impacts a life. They trust that when they give to Medical Teams, their gift will go directly to providing life-saving care for people in crisis.

“It’s a small thing, even a small amount makes a big difference. $100 might not feel like that much today but combined with the $100 from other families, it makes a big difference.”

Jim and Mary Lois’ grandchildren are in their 20s now, but the tradition is still going strong. Despite the many challenges in our world, Jim and Mary Lois and their family will continue to be a light to hurting people.

Mary Lois explains the importance of their giving, saying, “It helps people all over the world that have a hard life, and in the U.S. too.”

How You Can Make a Difference

The 2020 Medical Teams Gift Catalog is available now and there are many life-changing gifts to choose from. Even better, when you select something from this year’s catalog, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar until December 31.

Maternal and Child Health, Tanzania
Kashindi, 25, is expecting her third child. She’s planning on delivering her baby at the Medical Teams clinic. She is both nervous and excited to welcome this new baby, “It’s normal to have fear since during the delivery there are two things – life or death.”

Here are just a few of the life-saving gifts you can give this year:

  • Provide birth kits with essential supplies to help ensure mothers and babies survive childbirth. $40 will send kits for three women
  • Protect families from illnesses like COVID-19 by sending handwashing stations. $100 will provide handwashing stations for seven families
  • Keep children safe from malaria by sending mosquito nets. $35 will provide enough nets to protect five children

Like Jim and Mary Lois and their grandkids, this holiday season your generosity will bring healing and hope to people who feel forgotten and alone.


Shop the gift catalog to spread joy and bring healing to a broken world this holiday season.

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