I don’t know about you, but I’m not a Black Friday shopper. Between the tryptophan-induced Thanksgiving haze and the “shopping professionals” in track shoes wielding walkie-talkies, my efforts at any kind of door-busting would pale in comparison to the mobs that make that day synonymous with something very dark and sinister. And profitable.
I am one of those people who prefers instead to sit behind my keyboard on Cyber Monday, comparing the long list of initials associated with electronic gadgets to their sale prices, attempting to understand the difference between a mega and a giga.
But regardless of your Holiday shopping poison, both of these buying frenzies can leave you with an undeniable financial hangover. Now there’s a cure, in the form of an ingenious movement created by New York’s 92nd Street Y and supported by the United Nations Foundation. It’s heavily social-media based, and it’s called #GivingTuesday.
As the name implies, it’s a day to find a way for your family, your community, or your organization to come together to give something back by donating to a cause, encouraging others to join you, and becoming part of a national celebration of generosity. Military Spouse Magazine is joining #GivingTuesday by providing you with this easy low-investment list of military benefit organizations who are participating in the program. Pick one, share your cause, and encourage your social media circles to join you by taking an #unselfie for #milfams. It’s a great new Holiday tradition! At the end of the article we’ll tell you how to create an “unselfie.”
#GivingTuesday Number One: Modest Needs
In the wake of the VA backlog, honorably and medically discharged Veterans who don’t qualify for social programs can fall through the cracks, suffering under the weight of emergency expenses and living on the brink of poverty unless someone is willing to step in quickly. At ModestNeeds.Org, the “Homecoming Heroes” program allows website visitors to read the requests of these Veterans and their families to donate in any amount, even $10 or $15, creating a small army of micro philanthropists who can use their own modest donations to make a big difference in someone else’s life. If giving a gift to a child is something you’d like to do, there’s also a Holiday Gifts Program that allows you to fund a specific gift for a child who might not otherwise receive this season.
#GivingTuesday Number Two: Fisher House Foundation
Providing a network of no-cost lodging for families caring for hospitalized military members, the Fisher House Foundation is participating in #GivingTuesday through two popular programs. Hero Miles is an online portal that allows you to donate frequent flyer miles for the benefit of traveling families. In addition, you can donate to the Hotels for Heroes program, which allows you to give your unused hotel points for a Veteran’s family coming to visit while he or she recovers under medical care.
#GivingTuesday Number Three: Hero Dogs
Hero Dogs works hard to raise, train, and place service dogs with Veterans who have been wounded or have a disabling medical condition, giving them and their families greater independence and significantly improved quality of life at no cost to the family. For #GivingTuesday, Hero Dogs will utilize donations of any size to match and train a Hero Dog Team to assist a Veteran with challenges like mobility, hearing loss, and psychiatric disorders.
#GivingTuesday Number Four: Building Homes for Heroes
Building Homes for Heroes is an organization that builds mortgage-free custom homes for combat-wounded Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and invites public participation in the Homecoming Ceremonies for these Heroes. For their #GivingTuesday initiative, they have committed to build a home for USAF MSgt Joe Deslaurier and his family, and all donations will directly support this project.
#GivingTuesday Number Five: Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront serves basic unmet needs of our nation’s military families like food assistance, emergency home and auto repairs, rent or mortgage assistance, and even transitional housing for Wounded Warriors. They’ve created an Operation Homefront Village that provides transitional housing for families stuck between their discharge, which requires them to move off base, and the start of their VA benefits. The village structure also provides career, family, group, and benefit counseling for these families.
Now that you’ve seen the list, here’s how to make an #UNSELFIE:
1. Visit the websites and give to the charity of your choice, or another military benefit organization that you know about.
2. Write the charity’s website or name on a piece of paper with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
3. Take a “selfie” of the paper, holding it in front of or next to your face.
4. Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram the picture with the hashtags #Unselfie, #GivingTuesday, and #military!