If you haven't heard or seen it all over social media, today is Giving Tuesday. It's not just a local event, but a global movement to raise money for non-profits and charitable organizations as the year begins to wind down.
Giving Tuesday doesn't particularly need to be marked in the La Crosse community calendar as an event to start thinking about giving to local charities and non-profit groups. The support and generosity of the community runs deep and far past this unofficial start to the end of the year giving season.
The Hunger Task Force and the Great Rivers United Way are just a couple of those non-profits that see Giving Tuesday as another day of fundraising for their community.
Shelly Fortner, the executive director of The La Crosse Hunger Task Force said, "The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse; our area is only free and local food banks. We are serving over 90 programs whether it's food pantries, youth programs, meal sites, and so we need everyday to be Giving Tuesday."
In a different sense, everyday at The Hunger Task Force is a giving day; giving back to those who need it most. Shelly added, "We're trying to get the food to the places that need it most. We're looking at food deserts. We have outreach programs that bring food to people in those areas if there is not an existing pantry or program."
This summer has been ravaged with natural disasters like hurricanes and wild fires and people have been donating to those causes as well, but this doesn't worry Shelly one bit. Fortner said, "La Crosse is truly generous. We've always been able to get what we need for the people who need it."
The Great Rivers United Way in Onalaska echos those accolades of the La Crosse community. Mary Kay Wolf, the executive director for Great Rivers United Way said, "This area is extremely generous. There's a very strong philanthropic bent to this community, but down to a more grass roots level. I think everybody wants to take care of everybody." Giving Tuesday gets the donation gears going because people know they can make a difference to something close to their heart.
Wolf adds, "Any contribution makes a difference. Nobody should ever feel that a small contribution isn't doing anything because they all add up. They all make a difference. If it's a dollar in a red kettle, if it's a dollar stopped in giving to United Way, if it's a dollar to your favorite organization, today is a perfect day to think about that."
Giving Tuesday began in 2012 and has been a strong movement across the world due to a various collaborations and social media. Just last year, Giving Tuesday raised over $177 million dollars in over 98 countries as reported on the Giving Tuesday website.