For the Spirit of the Season: Giving Tuesday

Instead of the regularly scheduled content of this blog, I wanted to highlight one of the great events happening this week. We had Small Business Sunday and Cyber Monday for our Christmas shopping needs. Today is for the spirit of the season. Today marks the annual Giving Tuesday, a global event that encourages people to do good. It was launched in 2012 in New York and is now it’s own non-profit! They hope to encourage the spirit of the giving season in any way you can. For some this may be a donation, for others it could be helping out a neighbor.

During this year, we’ve seen how a little love and compassion can go a long way. Why not spread the joy when you can? Especially during this season, which is often bittersweet for many. There are so many ways that you can brighten someone’s day during this season. If you have the monetary means, below is a list of places you can fund during this season:

  1. Your local library
  2. St. Jude
  3. Your local place of worship.
  4. A cause you are passionate about.
  5. A local non-profit. You can visit https://greatnonprofits.org/ to find a list of non-profits near you.
  6. Donate canned food to Feeding America or your local shelter.
  7. Habitat for Humanity
  8. The American Cancer Society

If you do not have the monetary means to donate, consider some of these other great ways to help out today:

  1. Donate gently used clothes to a shelter.
  2. If you are crafty, knit or crochet hats, scarves or gloves and donate them to your local shelter.
  3. Volunteer online. You can visit sites like Points of Light to find places to volunteer.
  4. Participate in a build for Habitat for Humanity. They are taking the proper CDC precautions and require face coverings in order to participate.
  5. Donate toys, food, cleaning supplies, blankets, leashes, etc. to your local animal shelter.
  6. Shop for the holidays with Amazon Smile. When you go to https://smile.amazon.com/, you can select a charity. When you use the Smile url, proceeds are donated to the charity of your choice.
  7. Help a neighbor! If you have a neighbor who can’t leave their house due to COVID or other reasons, offer to pick up their groceries. Dropping off a nice note or plate of cookies to cheer them up is also a great option.
  8. If you go to a place of worship, check with the staff and see if any members are having trouble at this time. Many are not able to do things themselves right now and might need assistance with errands. Or they would just love a phone conversation with someone to catch up!
  9. Show your support for the health care workers on the front lines. Their work has never stopped.

If you want some more inspiration, check out Giving Tuesday’s site for more information. They have great resources for individuals, non-profits, and companies who want to participate.

Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy Giving Tuesday!

A Love Letter to Libraries

If you’ve ever read a book, odds are you’ve stepped foot into a library. The smell of books and shelves full of exciting new worlds are magical. You can get a ton of books with just a swipe of a card and not clutter up your tiny apartment with them — again, magical!

When I was younger, I read like my life depended on it. Saturday afternoon? Sure, my sister and I would play outside, but odds were when it was time for dinner we were reading on our deck. When you have two kids who read books as fast as they eat, you turn to options outside of bookstores. For a few years we went to the tiny library in our small town of Signal Mountain, Tennessee. It was great, but we tore through the children’s section like the Flash. Our mom decided to get us library cards for the Chattanooga Library, a place which still holds magical memories for me to this day.

I remember walking into the library carrying my little pink bag with a dancing teddy bear on it, ready to fill it up with as many books as possible. We could be there for hours, picking out books, reading a few, and even playing games on the early 2000’s computers. It was like a wonderland for baby Emily. Sis and I would sit in a yellow chair among the books and go through our pickings, narrowing down which ones we could take home with us. The library had a rule of 20 books each, which we usually hit every time. The great thing about having a sister who reads as much as you is that we’d leave each time with 40 books to read for a few months. I felt like Matilda every time we walked past the book fountain outside and through the library’s doors. Other than swimming, visiting the library was my favorite thing to do.

Now as a 24-year-old, the library holds many different meanings. It’s still a magical place to get books, but it’s also where I studied for finals and made friends in college. My definition of a library as an adult is not just a place for books; it’s a place where the community comes together and learns. Every time I visit my local library, it feels like a tiny ecosystem. The hardworking staff, the clubs meeting, the students studying for finals. There’s a buzz that’s both calming and electric, motivating me to sit down and read or be productive.

If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, or ever, consider carving out an hour one Saturday afternoon and make the trip. You never know what kind of magic you’ll find in between the shelves. There might be a new world waiting for you to explore, or history waiting to be told. While you’re there, consider talking to a librarian about supporting your local library. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to keep our happy places happy. Anything we can do to help a future generation discover the joys of a land of books is a step in the right direction.