by Cameron Salter, YMCA Marketing Intern
As the end of the year approaches, so do most of America’s favorite holidays. This year when you are celebrating Thanksgiving and taking part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, do not forget to celebrate #GivingTuesday. This holiday has kicked off the charitable season since 2012 and has continued to grow since. #GivingTuesday takes place on November 29th, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized discount shopping days. The holiday celebrates giving back to your community through charitable donations and events. Individuals in the community are urged to give back to the cities that they love in whatever way they can.
The Baton Rouge community has seen great loss in 2016. As members of the community, there has never been a better time to give. There are many ways that you can participate in #GivingTuesday this year. Whether it is through service, fundraising or donations, there is always a place that will be grateful for your set of hands and expertise. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter during this charitable season – with winter approaching, they need more help and supplies than any other time of the year.
If you would like to help through in-kind donations, consider donating old or new blankets so that the animals do not have to lie on the cold ground during the winter. Volunteering to play with and socialize the animals is also a way to help out that doesn’t even feeling like you are doing work. Who knows, you might even find your new furry best friend in the process. Similarly, St. Vincent de Paul of Baton Rouge is a great place to volunteer if you are looking to be hands on. They need everything from meal servers to envelope stuffers. With the holiday season approaching, they will also need volunteers to help sort donated Christmas decorations and clothing.
The YMCA of the Capital Area has many programs that allow you to volunteer and give back. The Angel Tree Giving Program allows community members to select a child’s name off of a YMCA branches’ Christmas tree, which tells you the child’s gender, age, and their requested gift. Another way to volunteer through the Y is by signing up to coach a sports team. Participating in a sport helps to create a sense of normalcy for children, especially those whose families were affected by the flooding.
Flood victims in the Baton Rouge community still need support. Many lost everything, and with the holiday season approaching they will not have decorations or resources to make Thanksgiving and Christmas what it typically is for their family. It is important that as a community we do not forget about the flood victims during this time of the year.
The C.B. Pennington Jr. YMCA was also heavily affected by the flood. The building took on three feet of water during the recent flooding that caused $2.5 million in damages to the 60,000 square foot facility. The water affected most of the equipment in the facility as well as the swimming pools. If you are interested in donating your time or resources to the Y during this charitable season, visit ymcabr.org. If you would like to join more than 700,000 people participating in #GivingTuesday, please consider the many ways you can give back to your local Baton Rouge community.
To learn more about #GivingTuesday, visit www.givingtuesday.org.