Until last month, I had no idea what Giving Tuesday was. When I joined Planet Hope, Giving Tuesday kept coming up in our conversations. I read about it online, and then I began to mention it to others around me, wondering if I was the only one out of the loop. No one else knew what it was either. Only one person had ever heard of it, and it sounded only vaguely familiar to them.
We’ve all heard of Black Friday, the day reserved for long line-ups and frenzied shopping to get the best deals. Most of us have probably searched for Cyber Monday bargains online. The day right after that is Giving Tuesday, the day where you give your money, time or resources and receive something you can’t buy at a shopping mall. I’m talking about the knowledge that you’ve given back and helped someone in need.
This year will be the 8th anniversary of Giving Tuesday. It may have all begun in the United States, but now more than 60 countries have gotten involved and launched Giving Tuesday movements. While there is always need, now is a critical time to get involved. 2020 has been a hard year. This is the time to donate to a cause that matters to you.
If all of this is new to you too, you might be wondering how you can get involved. Here you can read about some of the ideas others have had, from providing iPods for seniors with dementia to donating toys to homeless cats and dogs. There are endless possibilities. Consider serving food at a homeless shelter or helping to care for the animals at your local shelter or rescue organization. Plan a food drive at your workplace or church. Pack a gift basket of groceries or home baked goodies and deliver it to a senior.
This year, the pandemic has created brand new challenges. Depending where you live, you might have to think creatively. The easiest way to help from your own four walls is financially. If you have funds to give, there is no shortage of nonprofits in need, and you can donate online with just a click or two. Harness the power of social media and use your accounts to encourage your followers to get involved too. If you’re a knitter or crocheter, dig into your yarn stash and make hats and scarves for the homeless or blankets for premature babies. If that’s not your thing, maybe it’s time for a closet clear-out to donate warm clothing to the homeless who shiver through a Canadian winter.
You may be thinking, this year, I have nothing to give. I’m the one in need. If that’s the case, I hope you receive whatever it is that you need. And don’t forget, if all you do is hold the door for a stranger, smile at your cashier or compliment a friend, you’ve given something. It’s not the size or the price of the gift that counts. Kindness is free.
I hope you feel inspired to mark your calendar for December 1st. Let this be the year that you help someone in need.