Who will you be thinking of on Giving Tuesday?

Courtesy of Calgary Herald

Courtesy of Calgary Herald

Giving Tuesday is a spin-off event from American Thanksgiving that serves as a response to consumer-driven days Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It may have originated in the United States in 2012, but Canadians enthusiastically embraced the Giving Tuesday concept and brought it north of the border last year. December 2 will mark the 2nd annual Giving Tuesday Canada, and whether you participate or not, it serves as a reminder that the “giving season” is upon us.

When faced with the range of causes to choose from, people often determine certain causes meaningful to them that they focus their donations on. Over the years the cause I have focussed a majority of my donations on is homelessness.

To some Albertans, winter means great outdoor activities, and to others it means having to deal with frozen car batteries and slippery sidewalks. But for those Albertans without a home, it can be a very dangerous time. The fact is, on many winter nights, Alberta’s homeless face potentially fatal temperatures. Homelessness is a complex issue, and in our frozen climate it is an especially serious one. Fortunately, there are amazing Alberta nonprofits, in cooperation with municipal and provincial governments, working towards eliminating homelessness in this province, and there are other great organizations on the front lines bringing people in from the cold and giving them a good meal.

The results of the recently released 2014 Point-in-Time Homeless Count, conducted across Alberta by 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, revealed that there are currently 6399 homeless Albertans. That number is down from 7657 in 2008, so progress is being made in the effort to end homelessness, but that is of no comfort to those left out in the cold.

I am inspired by the work of organizations fighting to end homelessness, like Homeward Trust, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society and the Calgary Homeless Foundation; and those organizations helping Alberta’s homeless on a day to day basis, such as the Bissell Centre, Hope Mission, The Mustard Seed (Edmonton & Calgary), The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre, in addition to the many other organizations doing great work. On Giving Tuesday, and throughout the holiday season, I will be thinking of the thousands of individuals across Alberta without food or shelter.

That’s where my donations will be going. But, Alberta has about 25,000 registered nonprofits that are working tirelessly to make this is a better province to live for everyone. There are excellent organizations in every subsector, and they all deserve the support of our donations and volunteer hours.

What cause do you donate to? Who will you be giving to on Giving Tuesday?

Tim Henderson, Program and Communications Coordinator