For decades now, we have been embracing the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping known as “Black Friday.” Then with the digital revolution came “Cyber Monday”. For years I thought that it was ironic that we go from a day dedicated to being purposeful in expressing our gratitude and being thankful for what we have to a day that is about consuming more things…. The cynical side of me thought, ‘I guess that’s just more stuff to be thankful for….’ But the more caring and compassionate side of me was bothered by the frenzy of retailers cashing in and increasingly encroaching into a holiday that’s about being with family and friends. I was bothered watching the news and hearing about people shifting their holiday to accommodate going to a Black Friday sale that started at midnight or some other ungodly hour. Even in my house, a few years ago, my youngest son had to leave Thanksgiving dinner to go to work…. but I digress….
Five years ago, two non-profits, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, started Giving Tuesday with the idea to commence the charitable season with a day of giving. So today we are urged to open our wallets for “Giving Tuesday,” a day to raise funds for charitable causes.
I’m intensely encouraged by this global movement. Just three years after it started, Giving Tuesday had spread to 98 countries, garnered 1.64 million online gifts raising more than $177 million.
Beyond opening wallets in the days nearing and following Thanksgiving people open their hearts. There are countless examples of giving back and helping others – which are at the core of Love Thy Neighbor.
For me this year there was:
- A new family friend sharing with me how he signs up his wife and kids months in advance to serve meals at the local shelter, which they have done at Thanksgiving and Christmas for more than a decade.
- One of my daughters who has started her Thanksgiving the last three years delivering meals to homebound seniors.
- My wife and I having abundance to make a gift to ‘Soldiers for a Second Coming’, that provides a community outreach ministry.
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kick off the charitable season and get in the spirit of generosity, Giving Tuesday reminds me that there are big and small, traditional and innovative ways to lend a helping hand to others, to Love Thy Neighbor.
To take part in Giving Tuesday, all you need to do is pick a charity you trust and visit their website to donate. Many organizations are including the hashtag #GivingTuesday in their social media posts as a reminder. http://www.givingtuesday.org/about