Looking to give back? #GivingTuesday is Dec. 1

After a weekend, and Monday, of shopping deals, consider donating some of that expendable cash on “Giving Tuesday” on Dec. 1.

The day was first publicized in 2012 as a way, according to givingtuesday.org, to “catalyze the power of generosity.”

The promoters of Giving Tuesday also propose giving more than just money; they note you can give time, kindness, talent and goods.

You can search for various charitable initiatives using the social media hashtag #GivingTuesday.

In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies, such as Pepco, have charitable initiatives. For example, you can make a specific donation to help a friend pay their energy bill through Pepco’s Gift of Energy program. All you need is the customer’s name and address, or their phone number. Call (202) 833-7500 to set it up.

With many people out of work, or having seen their hours reduced due to efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, more organizations than ever are seeing their charitable resources stretched. For example, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington is organizing a Coronavirus Worker Relief Fund.

In addition, D.C.-area food pantries are stressed, as the surge in demand corresponded with the first wave of virus-related shutdowns back in the spring, and the demand has not let up.

Kenneth Hodder, the Salvation Army’s national commander, told CNN that many people who normally donate to the organization are actually in need of help this year.

At one point in 2020, Hodder said, the pandemic created “a tsunami of human need.”

Giving Tuesday CEO Asha Curran said, “I think we’re all suffering in a collective way, and I think #GivingTuesday will actually be extra special this year because we can respond to that … suffering.”

The Catalogue of Philanthropy has a site that makes it easy to see a list of local organizations open to receiving donations.

That organization’s co-executive director said it’s been a hard year for charities.

“We know over 80% of local nonprofits are facing some sort of challenge right now,” Matt Gayer said. “I think the real story that we love is that over 90% of them, regardless, have found a way to pivot virtually to support the community, or are still providing vital services like health care and housing, in person, in socially distanced, safe ways.”

Gayer said the organization helped put others in front of donors and altogether helped raise almost $700,000 in 2019.

If you did some shopping over the weekend on Small Business Saturday, he said it’s important to follow through with the same perspective during #GivingTuesday and look for a local organization to support.

“Just like we think about small business, small nonprofits are kind of that backbone. That dollar’s going to stay in the community and go a lot farther in a lot more creative ways,” Gayer said.

WTOP’s Michelle Murillo contributed to this report.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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