It’s a #GivingTuesday Potluck

We can all do our part to help.

We can all do our part to help.

We hope you found a few bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday because today is #GivingTuesday, a perfect opportunity to turn those savings into goodwill (and donations) towards others. 

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season. It launched last year (2012) and quickly activated 2500 partners and increased online giving by 50% in a single day. Check out (Canada) or (U.S.) for more information and links to hundreds of organizations in need of your time and your donations.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we, Apronites, are hosting a charity-themed potluck. This week’s potluck question is:

Which charities will you be involved with this holiday season? 

Be sure to get involved with the conversation too — leave your comments below.

Kirsty: What a good question. For the past 3 years I have been a big supporter of Every Mother Counts, a charity that helps maternal health throughout the world. The charity started by Christy Turlington Burns is doing amazing things. Right now they are in Haiti and have just attended a class of graduating midwives. This year my donation is a % of my profits from Marketing business December invoices to EMC. Last year my friend Ellen who owns On the Lamb in Uxbridge gifted my kids with goats and books to children in Haiti through UNICEF and the kids thought it was amazing — once they understood the concept.

Jodi: I’m supporting the Scott Mission, the TO Police Association’s Children’s Christmas Party, and UNICEF. I like to support local charities, because you can really see it make a difference to your city, but UNICEF also has a wide reach and can alleviate some of the stress in disaster zones like the Philippines. There have been Christmases where the extended family got together, everyone put in a certain amount of money and the name of a charity, and whichever charity was chosen became the recipient of the money pot. Everyone really enjoyed it and you didn’t have to agonize over a gift for that hard-to-buy-for aunt. I do purchase gifts from UNICEF or World Vision on behalf of family for Christmas gifts. I believe I got a school kit for an under served school on behalf of my Mom – a retired teacher. Everyone seems to really enjoy things like that as a gift, as do I. It’s not another pair of socks.

Amanda: I am absolutely behind the ‘on your behalf’ gift certificates. The point of Christmas is not to acquire clutter – it’s about being loving and generous. When my brother in law moved to Canada he didn’t want to ship gifts back to the UK, so instead he made donations to Child’s Play. The idea is that children’s wards make an Amazon wishlist of toys for the kids, and then you order some items off the list. Peter made donations of gifts he knew we’d love to places that were meaningful to us – Sheffield Children’s Hospital received a copy of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ that year on my behalf. Child’s Play is active globally, and allows you to choose the hospital to donate to.

P.S. If you think this charity sounds awesome (it is), a massive fundraiser called ‘Desert Bus for Hope‘ put on brilliant entertainment, and raised over $500 000 in support of Child’s Play Charity this year. The project involved a comedy sketch crew playing a mind numbingly dull game (where you drive a bus across a desert in real time) continuously until donations run out. Check out their YouTube channel, it is absolutely worth your time!

Caitlin: Rather than give cash to charities, I opt to donate items to local service organizations in my community. I live in a city where one in five people live below the poverty line, and I want to do everything I can to help the people in my neighbourhood who need support. I usually buy a whack load of groceries and drop them off at my local food bank, taking care to include foods like canned beans and vegetables, brown rice, and other less-processed non-perishables. Most years my colleagues and I will also forego a traditional Secret Santa, and instead pool the money we would have used for presents for each other and give it to Mission Services, a local organization that does Christmas hampers for local families.

This kind of giving might not be tax-deductible, but to me, it’s more tangible. When I see the food I’ve bought getting organized at the food bank, or wrap up the toys and new mittens to add to a holiday hamper for a family in need, I know exactly where my donation is headed. It takes a little more time to hit the grocery aisle or the toy store than it does to give a cash contribution, but that extra time makes me think about my community, think about my own good fortune, and most importantly, think about how easy it really is to make this kind of giving a part of my regular routine. So many organizations get inundated with donations at this time of year only to find themselves strapped for resources in the months after our Christmas cheer has evaporated. This year I’m resolving not only to give generously to my local aid groups over the holidays, but also keep up the spirit all year long.

Dana: Have you all watched Bat Kid save San Francisco? Between that amazing little boy and footage from the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, I seem to be a teared up mess every time I log on. My family and I have chosen The Make A Wish Foundation and UNICEF Canada (where every dollar donated is being matched by the Canadian Government) to donate to this holiday season.

My girls love to read but each year they’ve grown out of or bored with a row of their book shelf, so we spend an afternoon making a collection of books to donate to the Children’s Book Bank in Toronto.  We’re also digging through our closets to donate last year’s winter gear to Coats for Kids and some of my business attire goes straight to Dress for Success, an excellent organization that promotes economic independence for disadvantaged women. And it just wouldn’t be the holiday season without a generous donation to our local food bank, Feed the Need in Durham. (Side note: baked beans can get old reeeaaaaal fast. When donating to a local food bank, think of the non-perishable food items you would like to have on your own family’s holiday table. Think: crackers, cookies, good quality coffee, pickles, condiments… avoid the Spam, no one really wants to eat Spam.

Which charities will you be supporting this holiday season?

Do you gift donations to your friends and family? Do you appreciate it when receive a “on your behalf..” certificate instead of a material gift? This is an important subject to discuss. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comment threads below. And please share the message today, using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Thanks! xo

This post was written by

Dana – who has written posts on Hot Pink Apron.
Creator of Hot Pink Apron and Artful, producer, writer, photographer, adventurous home cook, homebrewer's wife, mom to princesses and furbabies, bourbon sipper, pop culture addict, fan of top 5 lists and food puns.

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    I contribute to Hamilton Food Share every time I’m at the grocery. I know how nutritionally limited the selections frequently are so I try to donate dried or canned vegetables, powdered dairy products which have a longer shelf life, quality vegetable soup mixes that can be made from water, and baby foods that are a complete meal.

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