Just in case you were not aware, today is the second annual #GivingTuesday, a movement that was created to encourage folks to give during the holidays. After first giving thanks for our own blessings, then spending time and money searching for great deals, now is the time to think about all of the men, women, boys and girls who could use a helping hand.

Naturally, several non-profit organizations are using this day to encourage more financial donations (some are even offering matching funds to spark immediate action), but I want you to think outside of the box and find a different way to serve someone else during this time of giving. Here are just a few examples:

  • Volunteer to serve at a soup kitchen or prepare food for Meals on Wheels.
  • Visit the Children’s floor at the local hospital and read a holiday-themed book to a child or make up a few care packages and hand-deliver them.
  • Spend some quality time with a person who lost a loved one this year. The holidays can be very challenging for people who are grieving.
  • Bake some cookies and drop them off at your local women’s or men’s shelter.
  • Adopt-a-Family from your local social services agency or church and fulfill their Wish List.
  • Forgo the Secret Santa exchange at your job and gift a week’s worth of lunches to a co-worker who eats Ramen Noodles every day. 
  • Pay a gas or electric bill for a Senior Citizen on a fixed income.
  • Provide food items to a child or two who won’t have access to school meals during the winter break.
  • Donate a coat, or a blanket or snow boots to someone who needs them.
  • Offer your babysitting services to a single parent who needs some time to do her shopping and chip in a gift card to her favorite store so that she can pick up something nice for herself.
  • Visit a nursing home with a group of friends and sing your best version of The Temptations’ “Silent Night.”
  • Give that person who holds down two or three jobs some time off, by paying his or her salary for a day.
If you have children, it’s a good idea to come up with something that you can do as a family so that they can begin to understand the importance of giving to and serving others. After all, it is more blessed to give than it is to receive! 
In conjunction with today’s event, I am launching #BGCCares2013 as a way for the Brown Girl Collective Family and Brown Girl Diaries readers to share their giving stories/photos, information about local nonprofit or community programs, or additional ideas for ways to help others during this holiday season. Please use the hashtag #BGCCares2013 on Facebook or Twitter and let the world know just how much we care! Or you can join me here: BGCCares2013.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please list established/legitimate organizations ONLY. Organizations will be reviewed daily and removed, if necessary. Personal requests for assistance will be deleted as well, as I cannot verify their legitimacy. If you are in need of assistance during this season, please contact local area churches or social service agencies for help within your community. My prayer is for everyone to end 2013 and begin 2014 on a positive note!

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