Nonprofits, charities look to generosity of East Texans on Giving Tuesday

ETN Meals on Wheels

(KLTV) - After a busy weekend of holiday shopping, nonprofits and charities across East Texas hope you’ve got a little money left in your budget for Giving Tuesday.

#GivingTuesday was started in 2012 and is always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday (whew). It’s a way for people to donate to charities and nonprofits as shoppers focus on their end-of-year giving after the weekend of consumerism.

Trudy Williams, administrative director with Meals on Wheels Ministry, said donations are especially important to help members of the community who might not be able to support themselves otherwise.

“[Our staff] cooks 2,700 meals every day to deliver it to people who would not have a meal if we did not do that,” said Williams. “We also work to combat social isolation, because Meals on Wheels does recognize the big role that social isolation plays in being a big nutrition barrier for seniors.”

The East Texas Food Bank also participates in Giving Tuesday. Out of the 26 counties that the East Texas Food Bank covers, 1 of every 5 people do not know where their next meal will come from.

On Tuesday, Ozarka Bottled Water Company donated several hundred cases of water to ETFB along with a $5,000 check. An ETFB spokesperson said the donation will provide 40,000 meals for children, families, and seniors in need.

“The East Texas Food Bank and our partners like Ozarka and the thousands of donors that we have and the volunteers that we have coming to the new facility, coming to support us, and provided over 21 million meals last year," said Dennis Cullinane, CEO of ETFB.

The website GivingTuesday.org has a list of charities and organizations and is searchable by locale (click here to search). So if you want to find an organization in your town or city, the website can help you out.

If money is a little tight and you want to donate time other than money, the website can help individuals find volunteer opportunities. Williams said many people who volunteer enjoy the time spent with homebound seniors in need.

“If you have time to give, we would love to have you as a volunteer,” she explained. “Meals on Wheels Ministry relies very heavily on our volunteers, and we have some of the very best volunteers in East Texas.”

“We provide a home visit, and that’s something that’s very important to seniors in need. A lot of people [volunteer] with Meals on Wheels for the visit, even more so than the meal."

Once you’ve you donated, they encourage you to post your donation on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

Williams said what’s important to remember is that donations aren’t just limited to Giving Tuesday; nonprofits and charities in East Texas rely on volunteers and donations year-round.

You can also give to charities and nonprofits year-round by way of your normal shopping. Amazon Smile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the foundation donates 0.5 percent of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

If you have any questions about how your donations are used, visit Charity Navigator. They examine financial records and rate groups.

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