It’s Giving Tuesday!

What is a better way to spend your day than giving back to your community? There is none! Every year for the past decade I have been participating in GivingTuesday. For those of you who don’t know, back in 2012 GivingTuesday was created as an idea: “a day that encourages people to do good”. Ever since then, it has grown each year into a worldwide event. 

Back in college, when I first heard of GivingTuesday, I thought, “Okay, another event that just wants to take my money.” I was wrong. It is so much more than that, and honestly, some years I don’t spend a penny. This special day is all about donating your time and energy. It could be something as simple as “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.” 

What are some ways you and/or your team could help on GivingTuesday?

Give to an organization you love most – Depending on if you are working solo or as a team, you could collect money and donate it to an organization in need. In the past I have donated to an animal shelter where I adopted my beautiful furbabies, however, there are PLENTY of organizations that could use your help.

Support your local community pantry – Does your community have a local food pantry? See if they could use your help! This could be as a volunteer for a few hours or a donation through your group. We had a food pantry at the previous two universities I worked at. Previously, I have donated my time here and there to help them keep organized and clean from time to time. 

Combat loneliness – This is one of my favorite ways of giving back personally. I may not have the highest numbers in my bank account, but when it comes to my heart, that number is infinite. If you have a chance, reach out to someone today that you think maybe going through a rough time. It is amazing how you could make a difference by giving them a simple phone call, email, or text. Our minds are a crazy place and sometimes a place where we can get lost in. Take today to reach out and lend a helping hand or a listening ear. 

Post messages of hope – Taking your team and walking around town posting positive messages is always a great way of giving back to the community. In the past my team has done this with sticky notes, chalking sidewalks, writing on whiteboards around the university, and simply handing out small thank you letters to random strangers. Some messages included, ”Thank you for everything you do”, “You don’t understand how grateful we are to have met you,” etc. 

Pay it forward – This one could get a little costly, however, it is always nice to do once in a while. Previously a few of us have gone to different coffee shops, or lunch areas and paid for random people’s items. As a team, we came up with a budget. The organization I worked with at the time helped financially, allowing each of us to take $100 and pay for people’s items. We would randomly walk in somewhere, see someone about to pay and say “I got this, it’s on me today”. It is amazing how many smiles and thank-you’s we received. There was confusion as well, but once we explained what day it was, individuals would brighten up and move on. 

Help a neighbor – Helping a neighbor is always exciting. Not only are you lending them a hand in whatever they need, but you are also creating a bond with them and a possible new friendship. Recently, I saw my neighbor out back gardening. I had already finished my garden but wanted to see if she wanted a helping hand since I was already dirty. She was ecstatic! We ended up talking about life and planted about 10 flowers and a few pepper plants. Other ways you could help a neighbor include: carrying groceries in, starting a conversation, mowing their lawn when you are done yours, shoveling their car out, making them a baked good, the list could go on and on. 

Volunteer – One of my favorite activities! This could be a wide range of events or opportunities, however, I encourage you to go out and volunteer. It is the simplest way to give back to your community. If you are not sure where to start, try this: givingtuesday.org – they have plenty of ideas for you on how to volunteer and give back to the community. 

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