Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, which means another fairly new holiday tradition is also just around the corner – Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement, acting somewhat as a counter to the creeping commercialism of the Christmas season (hello Black Friday!).
Pledge drives for local charities have come to be a key feature of Giving Tuesday. Seeing as Derby Community Foundation Executive Director Theresa Hearn just spoke to the benefits of philanthropy, though, I want to focus on the even more simplistic idea behind the tradition – a day encouraging people to simply do good.
I think nowadays, we tend to get caught up in grand gestures, but when it comes to doing good small actions can have a big impact. Pancakes, that’s how they get you. Or, at least, that’s how they got me.
Going through a drive-thru to get breakfast may not seem like much, but over the past two years its become yet another way to support Derby Operation Holiday through the Chamber of Commerce and American Legion’s annual pancake feed. In addition to all of the proceeds from meal purchases going towards Operation Holiday, donations of toys and non-perishable food items are also collected for the organization to give out to families in need.
Last year, going through the drive-thru line for the pancake feed, I started to think about how much those small gestures can really mean. The actions of a friend recently – donating blood during a time of extreme shortage and calling for others to do the same – only served to drive that point home further. Everyone’s got blood, most having an excess amount, so it’s really nothing to give some of it away.
Especially during the holiday season, I think it’s important not to lose sight of that. Obviously we’ll be out combing through store shelves or scouring the internet in search of the perfect gift for friends and family, but don’t forget the driving force behind the Christmas season. Because if you look close enough, I’m sure you’ll find a little more you can give to those less fortunate.
During my (almost) two years with the Informer, Derby has struck me as a community that rallies around each other to support athletics, local businesses and more. Those opportunities to support the community abound during the holidays and can be as simple as donating clothes you no longer use, starting a reverse Advent calendar by gathering items to give away (an idea I saw shared by a local food bank last year) or helping out a neighbor with yard work or some other chore.
There was a song I remember singing often while growing up, and I think its message is one to take to heart during the holidays – “it only takes a spark to get a fire going.” Remember, even the smallest gesture can make a big difference. Pass it on.