“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are good for the economy, and #GivingTuesday is good for the soul.” This comment referring to the official opening of the Christmas shopping season is posted on 92nd Street Y’s website.
It refers to a new movement to rival the holiday powerhouse shopping days, only with a bent toward helping others instead of retailers. “It is a day to celebrate our great tradition of generosity. A day for joining with colleagues, friends and family to support the causes we believe in. A day for giving,” the site says.
Giving Tuesday is the brainchild of the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center in New York. It has long supported charities in its area, but is trying use the day to encourage giving nationwide.
This is a wonderful concept and speaks to the heart of the season so much more deeply that battling riotous crowds at a discount super store to buy a big-screen TV. It is hoped that this effort takes hold and fosters seasonal giving.
Where as this is a worthy campaign, we here in central Kansas have known about the importance of opening our hearts at the holidays for years. United Way of Central Kansas is in the middle of its annual fund-raising drive, Farmers Bank and Trust is again sponsoring its Light Up a Child’s Christmas program and will again hold its annual charity coffee, the Salvation Army bell ringers are doing their part, and other groups are holding charitable events as well.
We know the meaning of Christmas and we know the meaning of giving.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy earlier this year released a special report, “How America Gives.” The data comes from a study The Chronicle conducted to examine giving data by ZIP code and by income level in every city and town in the United States.
According to report, Kansans donated $1.3 billion to charitable causes in 2011, ranking 31st in the nation. The state’s median contribution was $2,800 and these came from households with a median discretionary income of $58,725.
Drill down deeper, and it is certain to reveal that sure folks around here are a big part of that.
From ringing bells to buying a toy for a child who is in need, let’s continue to do what we can to help those who are less fortunate.