First, there was Black Friday. Merchants casually referred to the Friday after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday” for years; the start of the six weeks of the year that put small retailers into the black. Then popular culture caught onto it, and then the advertising mavens colonized it.
In 2008, when the economy cratered, social media and small-merchant groups invented what was first called “Small Business Saturday,” a campaign to get you out of the big-box stores and into the local shops and stores. It evolved into “Shop Small Saturday.” In between that shift, Cyber Monday muscled its way into the line-up.
(Sunday, so far, as escaped. Stay-at-Home Sunday? Football Sunday? I don’t know.)
This brings us to the final of the newly named days; Giving Tuesday.
Maybe it’s about balance, or maybe we’re still puritanical enough as a culture to feel a nibble of shame at all our conspicuous consumption from Thanksgiving on, but there is a movement to make today, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, a day of donating to nonprofits.
If you want to participate in Giving Tuesday, and you don’t already have groups of your own (or even if you do) here are some who do good work and could use your help.
The Redwood Empire Credit Union is still collecting and disbursing money for people who lost everything in the wildland fires. You can designate which county you want your donation to go to, or let them decide what is needed.
The Ceres Project teaches cooking and nutrition skills to at-risk youth, while providing healthy fresh meals to folks who are housebound due to illness or disability. Ceres went into overdrive after the fires, providing meals for local shelters. They’re a great cause. They also allow you to choose whether you want your donation spent in Marin or Sonoma.
Meals on Wheels is another great program. This vital operation provides nutritious food to housebound people, and a crucial social link. It is a pair of eyes in the community, checking on an isolated person, often a senior. It is a sense of connection, a conversation, a check in. Here is the link to the national program, and here is Sonoma County’s program.
Maybe reading is a big thing of yours. Look for a local literacy project, or a local Friends of the Library. This is a national literacy program that could use your dollars.
Maybe you’d like to donate to a writers conference. Mendocino Coast Writers Conference offers a number of scholarships; in some cases they do matching grants to assemble full scholarships. The conference can use money for general expenses too.
For many women nationally, Planned Parenthood clinics are the only place they can afford to get health care, including but not limited to reproductive health. The program has been under continual assault with the election of the current president. Here’s a link to their donation page.
Just a few thoughts. You can also look around your city, your neighborhood and see who is doing good work. It might be a shelter or a meal kitchen, a homework-club, a volunteer choir or symphony. If you can, support them. You don’t have to give a lot. Just let them know that you see what they’re doing, and you care.