For many, the holiday shopping frenzy now begins on Thanksgiving Day, continues on Black Friday and rolls along through Cyber Monday and on to Christmas Eve.
The search for the perfect gift sometimes overshadows the true meaning of the season. Enter #GivingTuesday, the social movement that kicks off the charitable giving season and puts the spotlight back on helping others.
Celebrated the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving — Nov. 29 this year — the day is set aside to encourage participants to come together to make a difference by donating time or money to the charities of their choice. Supporters are urged to spread the word about giving on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday and share stories about what inspired them to give.
Several United Methodist agencies and ministries are participating in #GivingTuesday again this year, offering churchgoers a variety of ways to contribute online.
Last year, nearly 6,000 donors from 27 countries donated $2.8 million through The Advance to support mission and ministries around the world. Every dollar goes directly to the missionary or project selected by the donor.
Over the past three years, Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief have matched designated Giving Tuesday gifts up to set levels; however, the match will not be offered this year.
There are more than 800 projects and over 300 missionaries available to support, with programs that range from building schools and churches in remote areas to supplying communities with clean water and aiding in the fight to end hunger.
The Society of St. Andrew and Stop Hunger Now are two of the many organizations that receive support from The United Methodist Church’s Advance program. Both are participating in Giving Tuesday this year.
For every dollar donated to its hunger ministry on Nov. 29, St. Andrew will match with 10 pounds of potatoes, pledged by the ministry’s generous farmers.
Search for more Advance projects by location, topic or missionary at www.umcmission.org/advance.
Here are some other ways to contribute through the denomination on #GivingTuesday:
- The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry welcomes contributions to the scholarship funds it administers.
- The United Methodist Board of Discipleship welcomes donations to Ebola prevention resources and the Wesley Pilgrimage.
- Both Discipleship Ministries and Higher Education and Ministries welcome donations to the E-Reader Project for theological education in Africa and Asia.
- United Methodist Communications welcomes gifts to communication and information technology for international development.
- Imagine No Malaria, a ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church, welcomes gifts to support the effort to eliminate malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Donations also can be made online to the United Methodist Men Foundation, United Methodist Women and the UMC Foundation, which supports other United Methodist agencies and ministries, including Black Methodists for Church Renewal and Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans.