Giving Tuesday, begun in 2012, was created by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, with the intent to create a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving, an antidote to the consumer culture. Each year since, the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving has been designated Giving Tuesday. Though information for the first year is incomplete, $10.1 million was collected through Blackbaud, a leading software company powering social good.
In my FaceBook memories this week, I found a post from 2017 where I had just heard on the news that the amount spent on gifts between Thanksgiving and Christmas was expected to be 682 billion (“with a B”) dollars. By comparison, the amount collected for Giving Tuesday in 2017 turned out to be $274 million (with an M”) dollars. The reality is that Giving Tuesday has grown each year. Since its inception nearly 2 billion dollars has been raised for various nonprofits.
The comment made on the news report I had heard in 2017 was that the spending “would be good for the economy.” I pondered when the economy became the god we all worshiped. I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about how the economy works. While theoretically a good economy is good for everyone, with employers more willing to hire, some people clearly benefit much more than others. If the worker pool is plentiful, employers don’t necessarily feel any need to raise pay or benefits.
In the best case, when we look back on this season of Covid 19, perhaps we will recognize we have come to develop a greater appreciation for enjoying simple pleasures and doing with less. The opposite effect could occur as well: having felt “deprived” we might become all the more greedy “to make up for lost time.” May we endeavor to work toward the former and eschew the latter.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: When I reposted my FB memory from 2017, I stated that my intention is to make every Tuesday a Giving Tuesday between December 1, 2020 and December 1,2021. I am considering how I will live out this intention. Perhaps you may choose to honor it in some special way yourself. Reminder: Giving Tuesday will be celebrated this year on December 1.