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After Black Friday And Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday Is A Movement To Make A Better, More ‘Generous World’

Once we head into the holiday season, it feels like it’s all about consumerism. There’s Black Friday, which for years was the traditional start of shopping, as hordes of people pushed and shoved their way into shopping malls to get great deals on giant television sets and other items on sale. This tradition is yet another victim of Covid-19, as Black Friday fell from favor and isn’t really a thing any longer-replaced by Cyber Monday. The traffic to buy online slowed many computers down to a crawl on Monday.

There is a relatively new day that is the antithesis of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Back in 2012, the New York City 92nd Street Y, along with the United Nations Foundation, introduced Giving Tuesday. The idea was to put aside conspicuous consumerism and give back to those in need.

Over the last number of years, Giving Tuesday has become more popular, but is still less recognized than the traditional shopping days. Giving Tuesday was created with the intention to promote charitable acts of giving. The mission is simply to foster a society that is “more gracious” and inspires people to work together and help each other.

There are over 225 Giving Tuesday communities organized in the United States and has fast become an international celebration of generosity. People and corporations are encouraged to give to charitable organizations, community projects and the needy.

People need help now more than ever. Americans working in low-wage jobs, in sectors, such as restaurants, hotels, resorts, retail stores, warehouses, fulfillment centers and other areas that have been hit hard by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, found themselves out of work. Studies show that most families don’t have three months’ worth of emergency money to tide them through a tough time. Tragically, a heartbreakingly large number of people were left without sufficient funds to fortify themselves and their families with enough food. As schools shut down and students were forced to switch to remote learning, families lost the precious free-lunch programs for their children.

Food pantries across the country are dealing with huge lines, as the demand for food greatly increases.

“Thousands of cars lined up to collect food in Dallas over the weekend, stretching as far as the eye can see,” tweeted CBS News.

Yashar Ali tweeted, “See this long line of cars? It’s your fellow Americans waiting to pick up food from the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Many of these folks have helped to make your lives easier. They may be ashamed to ask for help, so you should just give it.”

According to Giving Tuesday ‘s mission statement, the day “encourages people to do good” and “build a more just and generous world.” It is a decentralized operation. Business and individuals are all asked to help out their fellow human beings. “Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.” The aspiration is “to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity and equity around the globe. We believe that generosity leads to greater civic participation and other pro-social behaviors.”

You can take action in the following ways, according to the charity’s mission statement:

  • Businesses can help spread the word by encouraging their employees and communities to take action and do good on Dec. 1 and by helping awareness with by using hashtag #GivingTuesday when you post on social media.
  • Consider sponsoring a match for your favorite organization.
  • Host a portion of a sales event.
  • Organize a staff volunteer day.

Nike, Microsoft, Facebook and Patagonia all participated in Giving Tuesday initiatives through matching employee donations to nonprofits to directly provide meals to those in need.

Facebook announced its goal of matching donations made to fundraising up to $7 million to raise awareness of charitable organizations across the world. Companies offer people the ability to donate to their favorite charity or give back through purchases. Giving Tuesday brought in about $2 billion in 2019.

Here are some simple things you can do to help out those in need:

  • Share kindness with your neighbors.
  • Volunteer virtually or share your talents.
  • Give your voice to a cause that matters to you.
  • Show gratitude to healthcare workers, service providers and other essential workers who are making sure we still have the services we rely on-even at risk to their own health.
  • Discover a local fundraiser, community drive or coordinated event to join others in your area or with your same interests in giving back.
  • Give to your favorite cause or a fundraiser to help those in need.
  • Use social media to spread the word!
  • Talk about giving and generosity using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
  • Share Giving Tuesday’s social media channels in your organizational and personal social networks.
  • Announce your participation in Giving Tuesday to your networks and email lists.

Originally published at https://www.forbes.com.