Ottney: Giving backWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | email@example.com
About six years ago, I went Black Friday shopping for the first time, just to see what all the fuss was about.
What a rush! I didn’t go crazy early or vie for any big-ticket items, but I did pore over newspaper inserts, made a game plan and managed to snag some great deals. I felt like I finally understood why people look forward to this annual tradition.
About three years ago, I took things a step further, spending my first overnight in line at a local electronics store. I have to admit, it was exhilarating to walk away the next morning with two huge TVs at a fraction of their normal cost. What a revelation that I could basically cash in nine hours of cold and boredom for a several-hundred-dollar discount on major electronics.
But what made that experience even more gratifying was both TVs were gifts and I knew my relatively painless night outside would translate into joy on Christmas morning for people I love.
Each year, it seems Black Friday gets earlier and earlier, with more and more stores offering presale discounts on Thanksgiving itself, if not earlier. It’s also extending in the other direction, with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday also trumpeting deals.
Offering an alternative voice is a national movement called Giving Tuesday. The campaign aims to create a national day of giving, “raising funds and awareness for important causes everywhere.”
“We start with Thanksgiving. We go to Black Friday, we’re told to spend, spend, spend. We go to Small Business Saturday, we’re told to spend, spend, spend. We go to Cyber Monday, we’re told to spend, spend, spend,” Toledo Community Foundation President Keith Burwell told Toledo Free Press. “We think it’s a great idea, on a Tuesday, to go right back where we started to give a little thanks and give back.”
The Toledo Community Foundation is offering matching grants for registered charities, with donated money going directly to the organizations. At press time, more than 180 local organizations were on the list, which can be found online at toledocf.org.
What an amazing opportunity to transform the pressure to spend into something that will have a much more lasting impact.
LCCS Holiday Gift Drive
This is also the time of year when holiday gift drive donation boxes pop up for a variety of excellent causes.
Lucas County Children Services is in the midst of its eighth annual drive. The agency is hoping to collect enough gifts to make sure 2,500 local children who are victims of abuse and neglect will have a happy holiday.
New, unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at 52 area locations through Dec. 17. People can also text BESTGIFT to 41911 to make an instant donation to the drive. (Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor of the drive.)
Santa to a Senior
Kids aren’t the only ones who might not have a merry Christmas this year. There are also gift drives planned for local seniors who might not get a visit from family or a single wrapped package of their own this year, including Be a Santa to a Senior, sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care.
“It is heartbreaking to think of the senior members of our community spending the holidays all by themselves, without any gifts or any way to celebrate the season,” said Scott Rozanski, CEO of the local Home Instead office, in a news release.
Organizers hope to collect 200 gifts by Dec. 10. Trees with ornaments featuring names and gift requests can be found at Genesis Village, 2429 S. Reynolds Road, or the 2925 Glendale Ave. Walmart (starting Nov. 28). For more information, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call (419) 472-8181.
As we enjoy the sparkle of the season, let’s also remember those around us who might not have those holiday joys to look forward to as well as the hardworking organizations who support them.
Sarah Ottney is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sarahottney.