Following a long weekend of giving thanks and shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals comes a day that reminds people to give.

Giving Tuesday is a glo­bal day of giving meant to use the collective power of people, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide, the event’s website said. Founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tues­day annually is held on the Tuesday following Thanks­giving.

Warm Blessings Exe­cu­tive Director Linda Funk said every day is a good day to give and Giving Tuesday “reminds us of the importance of giving back” and the blessings a person receives when they give.

The Giving Tuesday website said people dem­on­strate generosity in many ways on this day. Whether it’s helping a neighbor or stranger out or giving to causes we care about, every act of generosity counts.

“The opportunity to give or become involved is always present. However, setting aside one day nationally, statewide brings awareness and may reach people who otherwise may not hear about all the wonderful grass roots work that people do to help improve the communities in which we live and opportunities to impact the lives of others,” CASA of the Heartland Executive Director Debbie Smith said.

“It’s a way to give back, pay it forward so to speak. And to increase knowledge about what’s available so that as we come into contact with those that may need the resources, we can better point them in the right direction,” she added.

Central Kentucky Comm­­­unity Foundation Presi­dent and CEO Dav­ette Swiney said Giving Tuesday offers an opportunity for a collective focus on giving.

“As we often talk about the importance of giving during this time of year, it is about more than giving gifts to those we know and love,” she said. “Many organizations work hard all year long to enrich our community. Giving Tuesday encourages us to collectively make giving a priority throughout this time of shopping frenzy from Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, (and) Cyber Monday.”

The Elizabethtown Ed­u­cation Foundation is among the local organizations participating in Giving Tuesday, and works to enrich lives, especially of teachers and students in the school district. Chairman Andy Games said the Elizabethtown Education Foundation works to fill the gap between funding and what actually is needed. Monies donated to the education foundation are used to supplement the existing educational program of the school district.

“I’ve always said we have a very giving community,” Games said, noting the tremendous support Elizabethtown Independent Schools, as well as Hardin County Schools, receives from local businesses and alumni.

“It is neat to see. I think it is something special, something a lot of areas don’t have,” he added.

Hardin County Ani­mal Care and Control Executive Director Mike McNutt said Giving Tues­day is an international movement geared toward charitable giving as several organizations team up as a global group to show their generosity.

McNutt said the monetary and supply donations and the volunteers at the shelter allow them to “give the animals some niceties beyond basic care.”

United Way of Cen­tral Kentucky interim Exe­cutive Director Christa Shouse said the organization does not participate in Giving Tuesday but has supported it. In the past, Shouse said they’ve even used the day to thank donors.

The vision of United Way is for each individual in our community to be self-sufficient in the areas of education, financial stability and health.

Shouse said the donations United Way receives go toward pursuing that vision in their five-county service area. During the 2019 campaign, Shouse said they had $1.2 million pledged. This year’s campaign runs through the end of February.

Among the many pro­grams United Way of Central Kentucky pays for is 2-1-1.

Shouse said 2-1-1 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline that connects people of all ages to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Smith said Giving Tues­day “provides the opportunity to explore all the valuable resources in our communities and how we can help those in need.”

“Though it is a global effort, participation locally informs the community as to what is available and organizations they may want to connect with, support and become more involved in,” she said.

“It encourages people to give, not just on Giving Tuesday but to continue involvement,” she added. “It also encourages community members to become involved in other ways and to discover volunteer opportunities where they can impact causes they are passionate about, opportunities they may otherwise not have been aware existed in our community.”

All monies raised by CASA of the Heartland go toward its mission to provide a highly trained advocate for every child who needs one, someone who will give them the voice they deserve in an overwhelmed system, Smith said.

“With an ever fluctuating wait list of more than a hundred children, volunteers are at the very heart of what we do. It is our ongoing mission to recruit, train and support members of our community to provide that voice and ensure the ‘children’s best interest’ is served,” she said.

CASA of the Heart­land also wants to give back during the week of Giving Tuesday, Smith added. She said they are holding a food drive for Helping Hand of Hope through Friday. During this week, any food donations can be dropped off at their office, 245 W. Dixie Ave. in Elizabethtown, or at Helping Hand of Hope, 6796 S. Wilson Rd.

“Doing good in the community is more than one organization, it’s about partnerships and coming together to do the most good. We are better together,” she said.

Swiney said for some organizations, the added needs of people they serve during the holidays can be a strain. Giving Tuesday comes at a time that can help alleviate those demands.

“Each organization uses the money to help advance their mission and work,” Swiney said.

For information about the movement, go to givingtuesday.org.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or malford@thenewsenterprise.com.

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