Today is the first ever Giving Tuesday, a day across the country dedicated to giving back. Launched by the creative minds of the UN Foundation, Unilever Corp. and United Way, what started simply as a great idea turned into a mass event involving over 4,000 organizations in all 50 states.
It is the hope that Giving Tuesday starts a new national day of giving via the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals who will transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Judging by the media, it is looking like the first Giving Tuesday will be a great success and only continue to grow in years to come.
“For it is in giving that we receive”.
– Francis of Assisi
As a Social Media Ambassador for Giving Tuesday, it has been my job to spread the word about this new day of giving. But of course I couldn’t stop there. I had to give something back as well. Deciding what to give back was easy. The idea came upon me about a month ago when we were looking for books to read to the kids. I realized we had so many books. Too many books. It made my heart sink in guilt.
Instead of boxing them all up and packing them away in the basement, I came up with the brilliant idea of doing a book drive for kids in need. I realized that there are probably a lot of friends in my community who have their share of spare books. Our kids are all growing fast and are moving through books like crazy. Thus if I could find a way to make it easy for them to simply drop off books for donating, then perhaps I could get a big supply together and donate them on Giving Tuesday.
I used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to let my friends and neighbors know about my book drive. To make it easy, I placed a large plastic bin out on my front porch where people could leave books. For the next month, I checked the bin daily and usually I had a nice supply of books. Every day I would take a picture of the books I received and post a picture of them on Facebook, including the total count received. It worked! Before I knew it, I surpassed my initial goal of 200 books and amassed 518 books in all!
The best part of all was watching the pile of books to be donated grow….
I found the perfect home for the book donation. A friend of mine told me about a Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, an area of the city that has been impacted by high levels of poverty and violence, that has a “Clothing Closet” for the neighborhood. The “Clothing Closet” is a series of rooms offering clothing, shoes, coats, toys and books to people in need at no charge. It is open every Saturday morning and families are allowed one bag each of goods. Oftentimes, the families bring their children along and the Pastor thought it would be wonderful if the kids could each pick out a book. Given the importance of reading at a young age, I felt that the gift of a book would be a wonderful idea to encourage reading, learning and family time.
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give”.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Sophia and I made the drop off earlier today in honor of Giving Tuesday. It felt really great to unload the car and fill the Clothing Closet with beautiful, well-loved books. It is my sincere hope that the children will find a book that touches their soul and inspires them to read.
For more information on Giving Tuesday, please check out the following links: