Give Forward on #GivingTuesday

I have been trying to force myself into the holiday spirit this year. Admittedly, I usually kick off the season with some Black Friday shopping – not because I want to knock over unsuspecting shoppers as I attempt to get some deal on a big screen TV, but because I just kind of like being out early on that Friday morning, surrounded by people. This year, Black Friday shopping involved taking the two girls and then it ended up being a little less fun and a little more of a reminder of how focused we all can get on THINGS rather than people.

It’s been one of those years, a year where I have to dial back some of the holiday giving – not because I want to, but because I have to – and so because of that the allure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday — while I’m all about getting deals — has been lost on me. I don’t want to spend money to feel good. Spending money on things isn’t feeling so great right now.

A week or so ago, my friend Nate contacted me about GivingTuesday. Nate is one of my favorite people and one of the big hearts behind LoveDrop. He’s now the Director of Communications for GiveForward. GiveForward is an online fundraising organization for people to help a loved one in need, and they are one of the many organizations participating today in #GivingTuesday.

What’s #GivingTUesday? #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 non-profit organizations.

I remember back when I first took part in LoveDrop in Dallas, Texas a few years ago. Though I had known Nate via Twitter for years before that, it was amazing to see first hand this thing that he and J Money had created. This mission of theirs is what I refer to as “heart work” – work that left me feeling good. At the time, my youngest had been in kindergarten? First grade? And she’d been learning in schoolabout “drops in the bucket” — you’re either putting drops into people’s buckets by doing things that make them feel good, making them happy… or you’re taking drops away by being unkind or otherwise inflicting negative energy on people.

It was in Dallas that weekend that I fell in love with the idea of LoveDrop and the way it made me feel, and how by doing for OTHERS, I was adding drops to my own bucket as well.

Which is why I’m writing to you about #GivingTuesday.

There are a lot of people out there with buckets that need drops.

Families like that of Christian Hannah, a 14 year old born with cerebral palsy. The Hannah’s family and friends are raising money to buy a rear entry wheelchair accessible van. Christian’s mom, Janet, has been lifting him out of his wheelchair and securing him into his car seat – but he’s now about 5′ tall and weighs about 65 pounds. He’s taller than his mom! Between school, doctor’s appointments and day-to-day life, she’s lifting her son into and out of the car several times a day. A wheelchair accessible van would simplify that part of life for their family.

Janet’s a single mom – and admittedly, this is part of the reason the story of the Hannah family tugged at my heart so much. Because good gracious, it’s hard enough to handle the regular day-to-day challenges of parenting on your own, but this woman is doing so much and I love that GiveForward and her family and friends are working to find ways to help her and her children improve their daily lives.

As I’m truly discovering, it does kind of take a village to raise a family, and our villages sometimes extend further than we even know. Like the internet.

Drops in the bucket add up.

Small actions can create big results.

I didn’t bust down any doors on Black Friday. I didn’t take advantage of Cyber Monday sales. But I can kick off my giving season today with #GivingTuesday and fill my heart and my bucket (and my quota for sappiness) by telling you about the Hannah family and encouraging you to click over and read about them and help if you can.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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