by Alyssa Potyraj
Have you ever donated to charity ? Now have you ever donated to a charity not during the holiday season? Why is it that we are more willing to donate during the Holidays when the need is prevalent throughout the entire year? This trend has become so powerful it has created a global movement of giving back referred to as “Giving Tuesday” following Thanksgiving. This movement is meant to join everyone together in order to do good and help people focus on others while they are in the giving spirit.
As the holiday season begins to ramp up, the opportunities for donating seem to increase exponentially. From Thanksgiving food drives to Toys for Tots and Salvation Army donations. According to the San Diego Foundation “38 percent of those who donate to charity said that they are more likely to do so during the holiday season.”
Jen Timmer who works at a local shelter downtown said that her shelter is impacted by this trend.
“We generally get the bulk of our donations between Thanksgiving and January 1st,” Timmer said. “We also have a couple of major fundraisers that bring in a large portion of our monetary donations. The fundraisers are held in March and November.”
Many people donate during the holidays because it is convenient and encouraged throughout the “season of giving.” Sophomore Cici Lowe said that she donated to the school wide food drive because her teacher encouraged their class and she also has seen the good in donating to the less fortunate. Cici has also helped at local soup kitchens with her church mostly around Christmas time.
Although donating is highly encouraged around the holidays, it is important to donate year round. Timmer states that it is important to do so because “the shelter often run low on important items which we then have to purchase it which negatively affects our budget. The needs do not go away outside the season of giving yet the donations seem to slowly fade away leaving shelves of shelters bare and empty throughout the remainder of the year.”
Many people donate because it makes them feel good inside but they don’t always realize the impacts of the donations. Timmer explains a time when she felt that the shelter greatly impacted people in need through the kindness of others.
“A huge donation which took a few years to produce is our side yard. It is a safe play yard that gets a ton of use by our families. This donation came from Junior League who came to us as volunteers and really became passionate about our cause. They took on the side yard as Signature Project and designed an awesome play space for our kids. The kids are able to play with their moms, other children and with staff. They feel safe in the environment and enjoy it very much!” Timmer said.
Many people who have received donations in the past feel as they need to give back or donate later in life to help others in the same way they have been helped. A local kettle bell ringer in Grandville shared her story of why she gives back during the holiday season.
“When I was unemployed, Salvation Army helped my children to have a Christmas by providing them with gifts, so now I give back to help others,” she said.
Donating is beneficial all year round so it is important to continue giving outside of the holiday season. It not only helps the less fortunate but it also makes you feel good doing something for the greater good.