#GivingTuesday encourages charity over holiday season

By Ryne Turke on December 4, 2015 at 12:15pm

While national shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday grab most of the attention over the holiday weekend, a new movement is pushing the spirit of giving.

Giving Tuesday, now in its fourth year, is observed the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and encourages charitable giving.

Prairieland United Way is one of several local agencies trying to promote Giving Tuesday. Karen Walker is the Executive Director of Prairieland United Way.

“Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity nationwide for people to increase awareness and we hope to build on that. With the current situation of the state, the agencies are defiantly impacted. We are continuing to make sure people are aware of the need in the community.”

Walker says the winter months are a vital time to give back to the community.

“I’ve had conversations with different agencies. I spoke with the director of the soup kitchen and she said they are over 500 meals more than what they did in 2014 and they still have a month to go. We are seeing an increase in need from the community. All of those resources are very important.”

Walker says Prairieland United Way’s current campaign, LIVE UNITED- Building Stronger Communities, is off to a strong start and will fund the same areas that Giving Tuesday addresses.

“Last year we touched about 35,000 individuals and families. We allocate them out to 34 different agencies that use the funds to promote programs. It is important for people to realize every dollar they donate stays local.”

According to NBC News, Giving Tuesday raised nearly $117 million in online donations, a jump of 155 percent from last year.