To understand Giving Tuesday, I guess you have to understand the weekend that comes before it. While the media may claim that Thanksgiving week is the biggest spending period of the year, statistics show that it isn't. It is, however, probably the only time of year where people purchase personalized t-shirts and write out complicated battle plans for shopping. It's the only time of year that shops and malls are going to pay their employees to hang out and work in the middle of the night. For an entire weekend, we are encouraged to spend, spend spend. Discounts, coupons, flyers, special offers, rewards programs.....Thanksgiving weekend has changed, for many people, into a day off to plan your shopping. There just happens to be a turkey dinner served beforehand. Black Friday leads to Small Business Saturday leading to Cyber Monday (after a break for Sunday brunch, I guess.)
A long-standing tradition for Thanksgiving is to take some time to share what we're thankful for. One of my friends wrote these blessings out on a table centerpiece. Many of us have challenged each other to share each day on social media about something for which we are thankful. These expressions of gratitude cover a vast range of things, from the obvious (family and friends) to the things we take for granted (clean water, indoor plumbing.)
Two months after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, I spent some time this weekend hanging my Haitian Christmas ornaments on my tree. Created from trash- colorful paper and reclaimed oil barrels- these ornaments are a reminder to me of two things. The first is a reminder of all the Haitian people I love very dearly, from my friend's son who was born there to my sweet Compassion kids. The second is a reminder that God can take bad things and make them good again. And that he provides for his people when they are faced with difficult circumstances. People who live in impoverished situations can sometimes find themselves surrounded by literal garbage- from the trash I saw on the roads in Honduras to the dumps in India, to these oil barrels in Haiti. In this case, that trash has been turned into an income generating opportunity for Haitian moms and dads who struggle to keep their families together. Their circumstances were challenging before the 2010 earthquake, before the devastating hurricane. Can you imagine how they must be now? It's tough enough to try to care for your family, surviving on income generated by your small fruit orchard or family farm, sleeping in a home made of cinderblocks and discarded wood. What about when torrential rains and 100 mile an hour winds flood your garden, uproot your trees, destroy your home?
Two months later, the people of Haiti still need help. Their problems were not solved with the brief spurt of financial support that came a few days after the hurricane- particularly since the storm then headed for Florida and Georgia, where it lessened in intensity and destructive force, distracting us from the fact that Haiti was crushed as severely as it was.
Haiti needs help. Compassion is helping to rebuild. Today, as your inbox is flooded with pitches from various organizations, please consider contributing any amount- even $10- to their relief efforts. The wonderful thing about Compassion is that unlike other groups, their relief efforts are headed by lead by locals. There isn't a team of outsiders coming in to sweep up a bit and then leave again. They know the people because they ARE the people. And they aren't going anywhere. They won't stop until the work is done- hopefully better than before. They provide love and encouragement in addition to food, water, and shelter. You can follow this link to learn more.
And if you are interested in sponsoring a child from Haiti, please consider sweet Keth My Love. I adore her name. This beautiful girl has been waiting over almost 9 months for a sponsor. You can read more about her here.