The year 2020 is unlike any we’ve experienced, facing a global pandemic that has not only ravaged the health of citizens, but the economy as well. That, we’ve faced before, though more than 100 years ago. But this time, we also face a divided society in which significant portions of the populace refuse to even admit the pandemic is real, agree it’s happening but believe it’s part of some plot by the government/China/the medical establishment to control us, or have latched onto fringe reports to argue against commonsense measures to control the virus.
What no one can debate is the effect on those in need. This season typically brings not only thoughts of family and festive celebrations, but also a realization that such joys are less available to many in our community.
Thus, in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday — which revel in spending and procuring — Giving Tuesday sprang up to remind us that often the best path toward the joy of the season is through helping others.
This year, many charitable organizations are struggling with higher demand and reduced resources, both products of lost incomes, and with fewer ways to raise revenues. One example: the array of events held annually throughout the region that generate money for a variety of nonprofit groups: the Monadnock Humane Society’s Hair Ball; Dancing with the Keene Stars; the YMCA’s Sneaker Ball; the Lions Club’s annual musical; and many more. COVID has rendered them impossible at worst, remote and less-impactful at best.
The United Way, one of the region’s most far-reaching charitable endeavors, has scaled back its annual fundraising goal, and still is having difficulty reaching that number. Other organizations are also faring worse this year, even as requests for assistance are up.
Giving Tuesday is, to an extent, a gimmick; there’s nothing magical about the date save for coming on the heels of perhaps the biggest spending weekend of the year, and thus taking advantage of the guilt or, at least, context that may inspire. But it is also a timely reminder that the need is real. And falling so soon after Thanksgiving, it may catch some of us in a receptive mood, having just taken time to count our own blessings.
The many worthwhile charitable organizations in the region would be happy to accept donations on any day, of course. So don’t feel you’ve missed out if you wait until after today.
It’s also worth noting scammers are aware of these dynamics, too, so be careful about responding to requests for donations. And they’re more sophisticated than ever. So if you get an email or call asking for help, even if it’s from an organization you’re familiar with, don’t respond directly. Instead, call up the group’s website on your own or call them directly to give. Clicking through links sent via email can be dangerous, as is giving out information to anyone who calls you out of the blue.
As noted above, these are divisive times. But everyone ought to be able to agree that those who have plenty can afford to share with those in need. Giving Tuesday is just a reminder.