Tuesday is a time to ease up on the shopping and remember what’s important this holiday season: giving and sharing.
Giving Tuesday — which always falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — is a global day of charitable giving fueled by the power of social media and the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
Many area nonprofits are promoting Giving Tuesday via social media campaigns. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need is greater than ever this year.
“A lot of our local nonprofits have been stretched to the limit just because they’ve had an increase in needs for services as well as the decrease in fundraising capabilities,” said Cindy Beecher, director of administration at United Way of the Ozarks.
United Way’s mission is to raise funds and unite support around the community’s critical needs and “red flags,” Beecher explained.
“We are raising funds throughout the year. Then in the spring we have a panel of donor volunteers that come together and decide where to direct the funding,” she said. “We focus on initiatives that support the entire community’s health education and financial stability.”
The United Way will be promoting #GivingTuesday on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Beecher said.
“I would encourage people to become part of this movement of generosity,” she said of Giving Tuesday. “Make this part of your annual tradition as part of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Just add on Giving Tuesday so that we can support these nonprofits that provide a lot of important services to our community.”
To support United Way of the Ozarks, visit uwozarks.org.
For more about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit givingtuesday.org.
Search for your favorite nonprofit on social media Tuesday. Many will be promoting #GivingTuesday online fundraisers.
Here are a few other local nonprofits that are participating in Giving Tuesday.
Care to Learn
Care to Learn is a Springfield-based nonprofit with chapters in schools throughout the state. The mission of Care to Learn is to provide immediate funding to meet emergent needs in the areas of health, hunger, and hygiene so every student can be successful in school.
Under normal circumstances, Care to Learn fulfills that mission by providing vouchers specifically for what a student needs through the school’s Care to Learn liaison, who may be a teacher or coach.
When Missouri schools closed earlier this year due to COVID-19, the Care to Learn chapters were able to continue meeting the needs of students because schools worked hard to stay connected with families, said Executive Director Christian Mechlin.
“It’s been a huge blessing for us that the schools have been so adaptable in finding ways to stay in touch with students,” Mechlin said. “We’ve got a ton of students whose families have been thrust into situational poverty. Job loss, unemployment, underemployment, loss of insurance — all kinds of stuff have brought families into a place where they need assistance.”
In a normal year, Care to Learn serves between 25,000 and 30,000 students throughout the state. This past year, Care to Learn has served more than 70,000 unique students.
And while the needs have increased due to COVID-19, the ability to raise funding has been limited. This past fall, for instance, Care to Learn had to move its annual fundraiser Panther Run 5K, 10K, and 15K races to virtual.
“Losing those fundraisers and losing those points of contact with the community have been really hard,” Mechlin said. “We are definitely seeing it in our bottom line. There’s no doubt this is going to be a much tougher year.”
“Virtual opportunities like Giving Tuesday are going to be absolutely critical for us,” he continued. “This is where we have a chance to be in contact with the community, spread the word about what we are doing and continue to harness that community support.”
Care to Learn founder Doug Pitt has pledged to match donations on Giving Tuesday up to $10,000.
“This is just an opportunity for people to stretch their dollars to help meet more kids’ needs,” Mechlin said.
To support Care to Learn, visit caretolearn.org.
Habitat for Humanity of Springfield
Habitat for Humanity of Springfield’s theme for Giving Tuesday is “Habitat Hammers Back.”
“We are just not going to let COVID-19 stop us,” Abby Glenn, director of development, said of the theme. “It’s forcing us to change the way we look at things and the way we do some things. But at the end of the day, we are not going to let it stop us because we have people who need homes built. We have people who need homes repaired.”
Habitat’s fundraising goal is $3,000 in the single day.
“I always want to say, ‘Support Habitat for Humanity,'” Glenn said. “But I have so many friends at so many nonprofits in town, that Giving Tuesday is that day, especially in 2020, that we need to come together and remember what’s important and reflect on what we do have and the difference we can make.”
Unlike a lot of nonprofits, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield has fared pretty well through the pandemic, Glenn said.
The ReStore is Habitat’s nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.
When Habitat had to close the ReStore during the mandated shutdown, Glenn said the organization lost about $160,000.
“But once we were able to open our doors back up, our ReStore had its highest grossing months in history,” she said. “People were finally doing those household projects that they needed supplies for. But then also during the shutdown, they were cleaning a lot and getting rid of stuff they wanted to donate.”
“We saw a huge spike in our ReStore, and our Restore is our biggest financial arm of our organization,” she said.
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The need for affordable housing and home repairs for Springfield families is only growing, she said, particularly as the pandemic continues.
“For our home buy program, we have three houses right now that we are working on,” Glenn said. “We haven’t had three simultaneous builds in years.”
“We have seven families currently in our home-buying program,” she said. “And then we have, frankly, hundreds on our home repair list.”
In the past fiscal year, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield built two homes (serving seven people) and repaired 82 homes (serving 135 people).
To learn about different ways to support Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, visit habitatspringfieldmo.org/giving-tuesday/.
Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland
By giving to Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, you can “give a girl the chance to see what she’s capable of and achieve more than she imagined,” a news release said.
“Your donation is used to make sure girls are getting the Girls Scouts experience they want without having to worry about the cost,” the release said.
Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland will use Giving Tuesday donations to provide financial aid for membership, uniforms, badges and council-sponsored programs.
To learn more about supporting the Girl Scouts, visit girlscoutsmoheartland.networkforgood.com.
Ozarks Food Harvest
Ozarks Food Harvest has set a fundraising goal of $25,000 for Giving Tuesday to help provide food for families experiencing hunger this holiday season.
Community members can support the food bank by donating through its website or Facebook fundraiser on Dec. 1. The goal of $25,000 will help provide more than 100,000 meals to children, families and seniors in the Ozarks.
Feeding Missouri, the Feeding America food bank coalition for Missouri, will be matching donations dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000.
“The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for families experiencing hunger,” Denise Gibson, development and communication director at Ozarks Food Harvest, said in a news release. “We appreciate the community helping their neighbors in need as we can take $1 and turn it into $10 worth of groceries.”
Since 2014, Ozarks Food Harvest has raised more than $125,000 through Giving Tuesday campaigns to help provide more than 500,000 meals to families experiencing hunger in the Ozarks, the release said.
Ozarks Food Harvest is the largest COVID-19-related donor to charities in southwest Missouri. Since April, Ozarks Food Harvest has hosted more than 75 Mobile Food Pantries, purchased an additional $2.2 million worth of food and provided a record-breaking 14 million meals for its network of 270 hunger-relief organizations.
To donate to Ozarks Food Harvest on Dec.1, visit ozarksfoodharvest.org/donate.
The Kitchen, Inc.
The Kitchen, Inc., is a nonprofit that provides services to families, individuals, youths, seniors and veterans to make sure homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring for each of its clients.
For Giving Tuesday, The Kitchen’s theme and hashtag is #1000NightsofShelter, a special fundraiser to make sure more families have a safe place to sleep this holiday season and beyond.
The Kitchen is asking folks to consider three ways to get involved on Giving Tuesday:
- Donate $12.50 to provide a night of shelter for someone in need;
- Share The Kitchen’s crowdfunding page with family and friends;
- Post an “unselfie” telling your friends why you support The Kitchen, Inc. An “unselfie” is just like a selfie, but with a generous twist. Take a photo of yourself hold a sign that tells your followers who you are supporting for Giving Tuesday and why.
Learn more about supporting The Kitchen, Inc., at thekitcheninc.org.