Giving Tuesday Now urges people to spread kindness, support charities
'It really is a time where things have really snowballed, in terms of the need out there'
It's Giving Tuesday six months early as the world struggles with the impacts of a pandemic.
Giving Tuesday typically refers to a day in November that follows the most frantic shopping weekend of the entire year, bookended by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But charities are asking people to consider Giving Tuesday Now — a global day of giving as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.
"They're trying to deal with increased demand for food and for service, trying to safely deliver those services and trying to keep their people safe," said Dave Angus, United Way Winnipeg volunteer chair.
"But they also struggle with raising money. A lot of their fundraising events are cancelled, so they're really up against it.
"It really is a time where things have really snowballed, in terms of the need out there."
Asked about which agencies are really feeling the pinch, Angus said it's difficult to narrow it down. Those that look after the homeless and seniors are under pressure, as are resource centres that support families, but so are those that help people with addictions and those that offer training and employment services, he said.
"It really covers the waterfront, from food security to supplies to mental health support," he said.
There are more than 100 Winnipeg agencies supported by the United Way, and they're "absolutely overwhelmed," he said.
Giving Tuesday Now is a reminder about how connected everyone is in a community, and it's about showing support in whatever way you can, whether that's through donations or gestures, he said.
To that end, United Way Winnipeg has posted some suggestions on its website for how people can spread kindness and support on Tuesday.
- Donate to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Every dollar raised goes directly to front-line community agencies supporting vulnerable populations.
- Put up drawings and signs of encouragement in your windows so people who walk by can feel a groundswell of kindness.
- Call your elderly neighbour, a friend or a family member who lives alone. A phone call means so much more than a text or email. See if they need any help.
- Mail a handwritten letter.
- Drop off letters to your neighbours. Include your phone number and let them know they can call you if they need food, essentials or just to chat.
- Video chat with friends or family who have young kids and offer to read to them to give the parents a break.
- Organize a virtual neighbourhood singalong.
- Send a food or floral delivery to a family or friend.
- Make a concerted effort to share good news on social media.
- Donate blood if you are eligible.
- Donate food, hygiene supplies and baby formula to agencies looking for help.
"Today is a great day … to set our sights as a community on helping people in need out there. Now, more than anything else, it's a recognition that we really support them and we're going to see them through this," Angus said.
"We know we're in this for the long haul, and we're going to rally this community around recovery. And I think we'll have a great story to tell at the end of it."