Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Today is #GivingTuesday

Church World Service campaign
The past few days (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) have centered on encouraging holiday purchases. 

Now we have Giving Tuesday before us.  Today, we are encouraged to give financial donations to non-profits that are making a difference in the lives of others. Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam America, Church World Service, and many other organizations feature on their home page the hashtag #GivingTuesday--an opportunity for folks to make a special donation on this day or to commit to buying products or donate a service that will help someone in a poor community across the globe.

The White House has also involved in promoting this day.“Some might choose to volunteer their talent, others might make charitable contributions and still others simply to connect with friends and loved ones. Through millions of online clicks and offline acts, we expect #GivingTuesday will take many forms, but all will be energized by a common impulse to make life better, especially for those in need,”said Jonathan Greenblatt, a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and the Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Some communities around the U.S. and globally have even banded together to offer special #GivingTuesday events, in conjunction with the UN Development Programme

Food Donations are important
Roadrunner Food Bank photo
There is another type of giving that his ongoing today and during the rest of this holiday season, including the box at your local retailer to collect toys for underprivileged children. Then there are efforts to provide food for families in need. Many grocery stores give you the opportunity to acquire a meal for a family. And then there's the barrel at your local grocer, intended for patrons to drop non-perishable foods for the local food bank.

Which brings me to a recent post that was circulating on Facebook in recent weeks. The post was entitled 10 Things that Food Banks Need but Won't Ask For. The suggested list includes spices, feminine products, chocolate, toiletries, canned meats and jerky, crackers and tortillas, baby toiletries, soup packets, socks,canned fruit other than pineapple. The list appears to reflect the types of items needed by the agencies that obtain food from the food banks.

I asked my contacts at two of the largest food banks in New Mexico whether the list is accurate. Here is what they said.

"The non-food items are  hard for us to distribute as we really only deal in food," said said Alissa Barnes, Director of Community Initiatives at Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque. To help donors determine what to give, Roadrunner Food Bank has drafted a list of items that are most needed.

The Food Depot in Santa Fe, which is a smaller operation than Roadrunner, could use almost all the items on the list. "We would happily take anything on that list except socks," said Sherry Hooper, executive director of  the Food Depot.  

"We just purchased some toiletries and have a Diaper Depot, which collects diapers for babies and adults," added Ms. Hooper.

No comments: