A Season of Giving… Tuesday

November 27th, 2012

It is now an entrenched American tradition that just hours after being thankful for all that they have, many people flock to the big-box stores, trampling and pummeling one another to buy whatever they don’t have at a discount. This year, with so many stores beginning their door buster sales the night before, some have renamed Thanksgiving, “Brown Thursday.” Black Friday has become a national embarrassment, but it’s popularity has birthed a number of more interesting traditions. There’s Bitcoin Friday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday.

The movement’s website, GivingTuesday.org, describes it’s mission as “#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.”

It’s such a tragic irony that a day like this has become necessary. What was once known as the “Season of Giving” has been reduced to a “Day of Giving.” Even the pretence that holiday purchases are gifts for others has been eroded. In recent years I’ve been seeing a growth in what I call the “one for them, one for me” attitude. From the dozens of commercials where shoppers slyly reveal they’re actually shopping for themselves, to an article at the Chicago Tribune which openly asserts, “One for them and one for me can make shopping trips fun.” The implication being that giving isn’t intrinsically fun already, which certainly isn’t true for me.

Giving Tuesday boasts over 2,000 participants listed on their site, including nonprofit charities, schools and religious groups. There are plenty of opportunities for cash donations, in-kind donations and volunteering, and organizers are asking partners to report how much they raise today, or other relevant information, to be reported Wednesday. But if in the midst of an unbridled orgy of buying crap no one needs for people you don’t like you’re bitten by the spirit of charity I have two suggestions.

Shire Sharing

Shire Sharing is a collaborative effort among liberty activists in New Hampshire to address social ills through voluntary action and private charity. They raise funds, collect goods, coordinate deliveries and connect with their community. For example, their Thanksgiving 2012 drive raised $5,500 and delivered fully prepared Thanksgiving meals to 650 families. Shire Silver accepts donations in PayPal, Bitcoin and silver as well as having roles for volunteers.

Young Americans for Liberty

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is the largest, most active, and fastest-growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses. This year YAL National launched an activism project called, “Choose Charity” to practice what they espouse about private charity and voluntary action. Events are organized locally by YAL’s more than 300 chapters, as in the Empty Stocking Fund Drive beginning November 29th in Nacogdoches, Texas or the in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You can check your local chapter or donate to the National office.

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About the Author: Davi Barker

In grade school Davi refused to recite the pledge of allegiance because he didn't understand what it meant. He was ordered to do as he was told. In college he spent hours scouring through the congressional record trying to understand this strange machine. That's where he discovered Dr. Ron Paul. In 2007 he joined the End The Fed movement and found a political home with the libertarians. The Declaration of Independence claims that the government derives its power “from the consent of the governed." He does not consent.