By Kristen Johnson
Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year – Giving Tuesday. After the frenzy of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday comes a day of giving we should all care about. Giving Tuesday is celebrated globally and is seen as a day of giving back to the community in the form of financial contributions, time and talent. It also signifies the kickoff to the charitable giving season which often coincides with the holidays and annual year-end giving. (USA Today). Although I would argue that every day should be a day of giving, I am encouraged that we do at least have one special day devoted to giving to the charities that we feel best serve our communities.
There are so many organizations that are doing the work of the Church, that are really worthy of our financial support. How do we choose which organizations to support on this special day of giving? I think it takes a little time, a conversation with God, and a look at the issues that are most important to each and every one of us. My family will be supporting two different organizations this year on Giving Tuesday. If you need some ideas, I have highlighted these two wonderful organizations below.
UMC Advance: The Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church has a really neat program called “The Advance.” You can search online for a program that speaks specifically to you including 300 missionaries, and 800 United Methodist-related projects. 100% of the funds donated go directly to work you specify, and not to overhead costs or administrative salaries. I felt led to help refugees this year, so I started with a search for “Syria” and after a little research chose a project called “Global Refugee/Migration.” This particular project is supporting partner churches and organizations working with refugees, food/water/shelter, emergency assistance for communities who have been overwhelmed by refugees, and support for those deported or returned to their home countries. You can search for a project that speaks to you at: http://www.umcmission.org/give-to-mission/search-for-projects/Advance-Project-Search.
Plant with Purpose: I discovered this organization in one of my UMW books a few years ago and have been a supporter and big fan ever since. This fabulous organization is coincidentally located in my hometown of San Diego and they work on planting trees to stop deforestation, fighting hunger in communities with sustainability training, providing people with economic opportunity, supporting local churches with outreach efforts, improving health, and providing clean water. They work in places where families struggle to feed their children everyday, in poverty-stricken rural areas in places such as Burundi, Haiti, Tanzania, Mexico, and others. You can donate to their tree-planting work on Giving Tuesday, or monthly, as well as to other projects here: https://www.plantwithpurpose.org/donate/. As a special note, I might suggest that you donate to Plant with Purpose as a personal “carbon offset” if you have a high-carbon day. (In other words, every time my husband and I go out in our RV, we donate 10 trees to offset the carbon we are putting in the air.) I can’t say enough about this wonderful organization. They also have a neat program for Giving Tuesday called “Giving Treesday”, where they are planting a new tree for every new follow they get on social media platforms through November 29th!
Wherever you choose to give this year, make sure that it is a project that speaks to you and follows our command from Jesus to serve.
John 12:26 (NRSV): 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
Please let me know where you plan to give tomorrow. Your giving can bless the world.
Serve all with love.
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