It seems the #GivingTuesday hashtag has found its way into my email as well as my Instagram and Facebook accounts today. After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, I really thought we’d seen the end of specially named days for a few weeks, but apparently this year, Giving Tuesday has really caught on as a day to give back.
Donations of money and time supporting thousands of organizations have been highlighted throughout the day. However, every Tuesday is a giving Tuesday in Ocala as dozens of volunteers come together each week at First United Methodist Church Ocala to assist the homeless population of our county.
It was also a day of volunteers decorating the church’s sanctuary for Christmas.
Teams of volunteers will decorate not only on Tuesday but throughout the week.
#GivingTuesday is a good idea to get people to think about giving as a way to change the world, but if you missed participating today, I’m sure your help will be appreciated on any of the remaining 364 days of the year. Make any day a giving day.
One way to have a better day is to give back or do something for someone else. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life going to work or school, cooking dinner or doing laundry, grocery shopping or paying bills. Then you need to find time for friends and family while trying to take care of yourself. There seems to be so much to do and so little time.
However, it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make a difference in the lives of others. Of course staying in touch with family and friends is a good start especially when you know that someone is dealing with a stressful situation. Making a phone call, sending a text, bringing over a meal, or providing some R & R can make a world of difference. Even when you don’t know what to say or do, just knowing that you care can brighten someone’s day.
But beyond helping family and friends there are so many ways you can help others. One way to do this is to make a donation to support a cause you believe in. You may want to help the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Jude’s, or any number of organizations that support medical research. You may donate to the United Methodist Children’s Home, Salvation Army, or the American Red Cross. Participating in a run, walk-a-thon, or some other activity is a terrific way to support a cause. You can even become a member of your local NPR or PBS station or make a donation to your alma mater. Worthwhile organizations with financial needs seem to be endless.
Remember you can also donate things other than money. Donate clothes, furniture, or other household items to the Rape Crisis Center, the Humane Society Thrift Store, or Dress for Success. You may also donate food to a local food pantry or to an organization like the Boy Scouts who organize a food drive. And if you’re very brave, you can donate blood. I was rejected on my only attempt to give blood, but I’m determined to give it another try.
Finally, you can donate your time to an organization you want to support. This type of “giving back” certainly can be the most rewarding. You can give a few hours of your time participating in a one day event like a river clean up or serving a meal at a homeless shelter. This is probably the most practical way to volunteer since there are so many opportunities to participate in one day activities. Or you can devote time weekly or monthly to serve a need you are passionate about. Of course you can volunteer at your local library or hospital, with a youth group or a political campaign, the choices are endless.
Over the years, I’ve volunteered with children’s programs at church, coached, assisted with fundraising drives, and helped sports leagues. I’ve volunteered at runner’s club events, cross country and track meets, and have been a perennial driver for various teams. However, I haven’t consistently volunteered. There have been times when I should have done more to give back. Now that I’m committed to giving back regularly, I know I’ll always be involved in volunteer activities. I’m sure the organizations will change over the years, but giving back is now an important part of my life.
I know each of you are giving back, but I just wanted to remind you that these acts are important and make your communities a better place. Thank you for helping others and remember as your life gets more hectic, continue to find time to give back. You can and do make a difference.