The Real Meaning of Giving Tuesday: Is one Tuesday enough to give?

The pressure of the holidays can get to the best of us: preparing food, travel arrangements, family. It all seems worth it once the turkey is made and the food is served. Millions of Americans gather around the dinner table and give thanks for the year’s blessings and reflect on those who are less fortunate. But it seems like you’ve just barely started to digest, when you’re told it’s time to shop. You’re bombarded with ads, deals, door-busters. Spend, spend, spend.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Organizations across the country are offering another way for you to spend, your money and your time, that keeps the spirit of generosity at heart with #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday, a global movement for giving, is celebrated each Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It began in 2012, when two organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation set aside a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving, a great American tradition (you can read more about it here). While it’s typical to donate money on Giving Tuesday, there a many ways to give that don’t involve financial contributions. The only real rule for #GivingTuesday is to make the day meaningful to you by doing good for others.

We’ve put together this list of 5 easy ways to give in the weeks to come. You might just find yourself transforming one #GivingTuesday into a year full of kindness.

Sign up for the JRA CANpaign

Tzedakah, or charity, is a central tenet of Jewish tradition. The Tanya says “we elicit G-d’s kindness by giving charity and doing acts of kindness,” both big and small.

When you sign up for kindness reminders from the CANpaign, JRA will send you infrequent texts or emails containing tips and inspiration on how you can spread kindness. Grab a tzedakah can from our warehouse at the next food distribution and start working with us to make a difference in our community. When your can is full, you can double your impact by bringing it to the JRA office or warehouse. Beneficial Bank will match all donations up to $10,000! Moral of the story: Community + Action = Nourishment. It’s a habit you can start on Giving Tuesday and take with you every day of the year.

Volunteer

At JRA, we believe that your time is the most valuable thing you can give. While we can always use your help at the food distribution, there a many organizations that we love to work with who could also use your time. Check out our list of partners that need enthusiastic volunteers, especially as the holiday season draws closer:

For hunger relief:

  • SHARE Food Program — SHARE is a long time partner of JRA, and supplies much of the food that goes into our boxes.
  • Philabundance — The largest food bank in the Greater Philadelphia area, they feed 90,000 people each week.

To help kids:

  • Cradles to Crayons — Cradles to Crayons to provides school supplies and clothing to our families.
  • Mitzvah Circle — Mitzvah Circle provides material support to many of our recipient families.

For general volunteer opportunities in your area check out VolunteerMatch.com. We love to post our opportunities on their website. We also suggest contacting organizations you love like your shul, church, or local school, to see if they need of volunteers in the coming weeks.

Claim a JRAid gig

Did you know that JRA provides more than just food? JRAid connects volunteers directly to those in need to provide all kinds of services including transportation, minor home repairs, and friendly visits. There are gigs in just about every neighborhood from the Northeast to Bala Cynwyd. Create a JRAid user account and view available gigs at www.jraid.org.

If you’re more of a #GivingTuesday traditionalist, you can fund a specific need in our community through JRAid by clicking here. You don’t even need to leave your house!

Sign up to Make Chanukah Packs and Birthday Cards on December 5th

With help from the seniors at Wesley Enhanced Living, JRA volunteers will make special holiday packs and birthday cards for our monthly supplemental food box recipients on December 5th from 6:30 to 7:30 PM in Media. Volunteers of all ages are welcome! Register here

Shop Using Amazon Smile

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “but I like to shop!” Well the good news is that you can shop and give at the same time. Amazon Smile is an easy way for you to support a charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Amazon Smile has the same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, but Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support, though we hope you’ll pick JRA!

How do you plan to give back this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!

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