What is #GivingTuesday?
From their website:
"It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company, or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity."Giving Tuesday is a chance to intentionally involve your children in the act of giving back. This is something we do with Katarina all through the year, but I am excited to have a national day to recognize the importance. Especially in the beginning of the holiday season when so much attention is placed on what we are going to get.
The first step to getting your child involved in giving is showing them how you give. When you give food or money to a homeless person, talk to your children about homelessness. Take them with you to volunteer. When you donate to your favorite charity, tell your children what that money is going to help accomplish. If your child gets an allowance, consider not only having them set some of it aside for saving, but also setting some of it aside for a charity or cause of their choice.
Where my family lives, we come in contact with people who are struggling and hurting daily. Each one of those interactions is a chance to be a blessing. Some days we can give food, money, or clothes. Some days all we can do is treat the people we meet with kindness, showing them we see them as an person, not just their circumstances.
Giving isn't about how much you have - it is about meeting a need that crosses your path. Helping to meet one need, even a small one, makes a difference.
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” - Luke 3:10-11
The second step to getting your child involved in giving is to introduce them to a variety of charities and needs. When you are honest with your children about the needs in your community and in the world, you open up their eyes to ways they can help. Hopefully they will find a project or charity they can be passionate about all year long. Once that happens... you can step back and enjoy watching them dream big and get creative about supporting their cause.
"Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." - Matthew 5:42
Big and small things you can do on Giving Tuesday:
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter.
- Visit a nursing home. There are many people in nursing homes who don't get visitors, and would love to meet your family. It would also be great to bring handmade Christmas cards or art projects that could be passed out to residents.
- Find a family in your neighborhood that could use some extra help. Rake their leaves or shovel snow. Clean their windows. Cook dinner or bake cookies for them. Offer a night of free babysitting.
- Knit or crochet squares to be made into blankets for AIDS orphans in Africa.
- Help out at a local animal shelter.
- Donate clothes and toys from your home. Don't go through your kid's closets for them, but let them choose the clothing and toys to be donated, and take them with you to drop off the items.
- Donate hair for cancer patients. If your child has been growing her hair to donate, get it cut on Giving Tuesday, or use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to talk to your child about this simple, but special way to give.
- Call a local shelter, and ask what they need. Remember that shelters can only take new, unopened items. Feminine hygiene products and diapers are an often overlooked need at women's shelters and homeless shelters that serve families.
- If you have a Ronald McDonald House in your area, they are always in need of donations and volunteers.
Read books about compassion and giving, and books that will introduce your children to different communities and needs around the world.
- The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need
- I Can Make a Difference!
- Stand In My Shoes
- One Smile
- I Am Malala
- Take Your Best Shot
- Build water wells that will provide whole communities with clean water.
- Help the Malala Fund educate girls.
- Sponsor a birth attendant or newborn care kit with Compassion International. Consider sponsoring a child all year long.
- Set up a virtual book drive with First Book, and provide new books to children in low income families.
- Fund a health clinic in Zambia and help kids in the US with Hoops of Hope.
- Sponsor an Exodus Road Search and Rescue Team to help rescue victims of sexual slavery.
- Make a micro-loan at Kiva, or pick a project to fund at Global Giving or Catapult. These are great places to give, because they often need small amounts that are easier for children to give. It is also a chance for them to read about, and see, the real needs of other people.
Give gifts that give back. It might be Giving Tuesday, but let's be honest, I know it is still Christmas shopping season. Use Giving Tuesday to buy gifts that make a difference.
- A heifer or other animal from Heifer International that will help provide nourishment and income for a family.
- T-shirts from To Write Love On Her Arms which help fund education, prevention, and treatment surrounding the issues of self-harm and suicide.
- Headbands from Headbands of Hope which provides a headband to a child with cancer as well as money for childhood cancer research.
- Jewelry and accessories from Kwagala Project and Made By Survivors.
Inspire a giving revolution. Another great way to be involved in Giving Tuesday is as simple as spreading the word. Talk about it with people in your life, and share your Giving Tuesday efforts on social media.
You can Connect with Giving Tuesday on their website and find them on social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on facebook, twitter, google+, and instagram.
Join the movement and give back on December 3, 2013.
How do you teach your kids about giving?
Are there any charities or ideas you want to add to my lists?
*All of the charities linked are organizations my family has supported in the past or plans to support this year. I was compensated for this post with a charity donation in the spirit of Giving Tuesday.