You know Black Friday and you have heard of Cyber Monday . . . but did you know the next day is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the idea behind it is to donate to charity on that day. This year, there is a campaign that challenges Catholics to put their money where their mouth is - #iGiveCatholic.
Now, why am I saying it challenges Catholics? Let me be frank - there are too many tight-a**ed Catholics. No, I am serious. Maybe because unlike a Protestant denomination that hires and pays a salary to its pastor, I think too many Catholics figure "Rome will take care of it" and sit firmly on their wallets when that collection basket is passed around at Mass. Or throw in just a couple of bucks.
Now, there are people who cannot spare the donations. That's fine - so that means, however, it is up to the rest of us to prime the pump, if you will. If I see you pulling up to church in a late model car, chances are, you can do better than $0 each week.
Well, Skippy, here's your chance. Head over to the Diocese of Knoxville's #iGiveCatholic page and pick one of the participating groups. "But I'm not Catholic!" Okay, then choose Catholic Charities of East Tennessee - of the people they serve, I would say less than 10%, and certainly less than 25%, are not Catholic (and unlike United Way or Goodwill, there are no fat CEO salaries being paid).
By the way, these darling munchkins pulling at your heart now? These are students at St. Joseph whom I photographed for this campaign. You gonna let them down?
Okay, so skip #iGiveCatholic. It's cool - as I said, my challenge is for my fellow mackerel snappers who need to open their wallets. But honor Giving Tuesday. Let me tell you something - it's bad luck to pass by a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. Your local mission needs coats for the homeless, so see if you have some sitting unused in your closet. Finished having all of your babies? Birth centers need maternity clothes, especially work wardrobe so single moms can go on job interviews. Love your dog? Then go make a donation in Fluffy's name at your local animal shelter.
And even if you cannot find that extra dollar, give away clothes, or offer some non-perishable food items at a local pantry - you can give of yourself. Even if it means only to look at someone and offer them a smile and a friendly greeting. Because you never know what that simple gesture may mean to the recipient. And if you're an introvert and even that is too hard . . . pray. Or find an organization, a shop keeper, some neighbor whom you know is helping others and leave an anonymous note with a simple "thank you."
See that little boy's sign? Yeah, you can do it.