On Thanksgiving, we are grateful for all we have and enjoy the holiday with food, family, and festivity. Then, all madness breaks loose as we give in to our consumerist natures, shopping and spending like crazy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the dollars don’t count if you’re “saving” right?!?). Giving Tuesday is a perfect bookend, grounding us once again in what the holiday season should be all about: love, grace, gratitude, community, and charity.
Giving Tuesday is “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” Giving Tuesday is a day to atone for our glut and greed and to spend our money and time where they make the most impact: our local charitable organizations doing important work in our communities.
Today, on Giving Tuesday, I encourage you to donate your time or dollars to a charitable organization that is near and dear to your heart, be it a church, a soup kitchen, or an animal rescue center.
Here are the charitable organizations that mean the most to me:
E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
The amazing team of educators and scientists at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center promote conservation and environmental stewardship by educating thousands of children each year free of charge with a concentration on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects. The Biophilia Center utilizes their incredible campus and trails through Nokuse Plantation, a 54,000 acre nature preserve, as an outdoor classroom to enhance the experience of students, who may not otherwise have the opportunity to take a walk in the woods. The Biophilia Center is also home to many rescued animals, including birds of prey, reptiles, skunks, and bobcats. Beginning Summer 2019, the Biophilia experience will be open to out-of-area children as well, with the opening of Camp Longleaf, a nature-themed summer camp program!
Junior League of the Emerald Coast
The Junior League of the Emerald Coast is an incredible women’s service organization that focuses on developing women as trained volunteers and community leaders, as well as helping local children in need. The Junior League partners with other charities benefiting children in the area to provide materials and trained volunteers. The JLEC’s signature event is the Child Clothing Project, in which the League takes between 300 and 400 needy children shopping each year for a new set of clothes. The excitement on the children’s faces as they receive sometimes the first new clothes of their life is truly magical.
Florida Wildlife Federation
The Florida Wildlife Federation promotes conservation through education and political action, advocating for the protection of Florida’s wildlife and natural environment. A recent campaign the FWF led was on educating the public about Florida’s threatened gopher tortoise species. Many people toss gopher tortoises into the water, thinking they are helping them, but tortoises do not swim! FWF has been producing educational signage and posting signs in natural habitats throughout the state of Florida to prevent any accidents.
American Lunch‘s fleet of food trucks, or mobile soup kitchens, provides healthy and hot meals to anyone in need of a free lunch in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Athens, Knoxville, and, soon, Destin! Read more about the good work being done by American Lunch volunteers here and here.
Are you donating your time or money for Giving Tuesday this year? What are your favorite charitable organizations?
Let me know in the comments below!