As an avid world traveler, advocate and global volunteer I’ve often found myself having a difficult time coming to terms with the inequities and injustice in the world. Often times, when I return from a trip abroad I find myself feeling a deep sadness and guilt about how much the “haves” truly have in this world and how much the “have-nots” are left out. Even in the United States, one of the richest, most prosperous countries in the world, we have a huge imbalance between rich and poor that continues to grow.
For me, giving back to others is a year-round commitment. It is not something I just do once a year. However, I find that the holiday season is often a time of year in which I am constantly troubled even more about the injustice and inequities in life. While many Americans are eating more than they can possibly eat on Thanksgiving Day, millions are going hungry. While the day after Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Christmas become a massive capitalist endeavor, millions of people are living in poverty without even having their basic needs met such as food, safe water, health care and education.
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I love the holidays and I am very grateful and thankful for all we have. Yet I strongly believe that we who are the most fortunate ones, need to give back to those in need. The holiday season is a wonderful time to give back.
Last year, during the holiday season my family made some changes. I wanted to re-teach my children about the power of giving back. On Thanksgiving Day, we delievered “Meals on Wheels” to those who couldn’t afford a Thanksgiving Meal. On Black Friday, instead of going shopping for ourselves we went shopping for Toys for Tots and bought an entire cartload of toys to donate to those children less fortunate than my own. I’m not sure how much they understood but for our family it was a first step in a lifelong commitment to helping others.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
This year, I am thrilled to be part of a new way to give back: Giving Tuesday. We all know about “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. Two of the biggest retail and online shopping days of the year? Catching on to this theme is a new day called “Giving Tuesday” which is entirely focused on giving back.
What is Giving Tuesday?
On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals will transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday will create a national moment amount the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.
#GivingTuesday is a special call to action, culminating with a new national day of giving around the annual shopping and spending season and to inspire giving every day.
The goal is to help #GivingTuesday become a major part of the holiday season, putting giving upfront in November rather than an afterthought in December or the New Year.
I am really excited to become a part of the Giving Tuesday tradition and introduce it to my family and friends this holiday season. On a personal level, my family and I came up with the idea of donating a big box of our lightly used but very loved children’s books to families in need. I have started collecting books this week and hope to expand our family book drive to friends in my community so we can give a huge donation.
What are your thoughts on giving back this holiday season? What are you most thankful for?
To learn more about Giving Tuesday, check out their website and blog here.