Updated: Apr 6
Every Giving Tuesday, people across the country and around the world donate to charities of their choosing with donations, time, and services. On Giving Tuesday, we show our care and concern for those less fortunate than us by giving back in some small way.
What and when is Giving Tuesday
The next national day of giving is on November 30, 2021. Giving Tuesday always falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It's a way to keep the holiday spirit going and to remember that when we are truly thankful for what we do have we begin to see ways that we can bless others more.
GivingTuesday is an annual giving campaign that encourages people to give back to their communities and help those in need. It is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. There are countless ways you can get involved. You can read more about the day's history and future here.
Obviously, at tBP our heart is with our friends on the street. We're working year round to end homelessness one person at a time. For us, Tuesday is like every other day, except we're asking you to join us.
We would love for you to join us in displays of radical generosity for the homeless wherever you live.
How to share kindness with the homeless on Giving Tuesday
Here are 10 ways you can help those who need it most on Giving Tuesday:
#1 Smile and offer a kind word.
Really see the man, woman, or child holding the cardboard sign. Stop and listen to what they are saying. You might think you have nothing to give but a smile and acknowledgment that they exist means a great deal.
#2 Donate clothes that don't fit you anymore (especially winter clothes).
Go through your closet and gather the gently used items to donate to a local thrift store that works directly with the homeless. Lighthouse Ministries does a wonderful job cycling through donations while also creating jobs for those who are in need.
You can also hand your used jacket directly to the individual you see on the street and ask if they would like to have it.
Join the Warm Up Project, a Giving Tuesday Military movement, where individuals are leaving scarfs and hats in their neighborhoods to be taken as needed. This project isn't specifically for the homeless, but for anyone who finds themself out in the cold without a hat or scarf to stay warm.
#3 Volunteer at a food bank.
Volunteer at a local food bank of food pantry. Get the kids involved! This is a great way to teach children generosity. It's also a great reminder to each of us adults that giving is about more then money, it's about meeting people where their need is and doing it with humility and grace.
At tBP we've partnered with Grow My Giving to distribute food every Friday at Keeney Chapel United Methodist Church. You are welcome to join us in distributing food.
#4 Clean up litter from public parks and sidewalks.
How does cleaning up public parks and sidewalks help the homeless? Our friends sleep and congregate in the parks. These are their temporary homes, their living rooms, dining room, and bedrooms. Helping to keep them clean contributes to a sense of worth.
tBP has adopted MacDill Park on the Riverwalk. We meet quarterly to pick up trash. If you are interested in joining us or would like to schedule a team-building/volunteer day for your office we'd be more than happy to work with you.
Darth Vader and his officemates joined us for a little community service at our last Park Cleanup.
#5 Commit to giving a monthly donation to nonprofits that work directly with the homeless.
Are you financially contributing to ending homelessness in your community? In the Tampa Bay area, there are a number of organizations to pick from, including ours.
Give a one-time gift in honor of Giving Tuesday, or step it up and make a commitment to give monthly. Every dollar helps!
Make Giving Tuesday a year round commitment!
#6 Volunteer at an organization you believe in.
Nonprofits like The Bautista Project need more than just money. We also need your specific talents. What is it you love to do? What is it you are particularly good at?
Our volunteers plan events, service projects, are skilled in social media, photography, writing, and more.
It truly takes a full community to keep this organization running and meeting the needs of the people we serve. The more people donate and volunteer, the more individuals we can help.
#7 Give a gift card to the homeless person you pass by every day.
Purchase a $10 gift card on your way out of Target or Mcdonald's, then the first homeless person you see give that card to them. Handing them a hot meal from a restaurant is kind and almost always appreciated, however they may have just eaten or have specific dietary needs.
When you give a gift card you aren't just providing for their needs, you are also giving them the gift of choice. When someone has such little control over their current conditions, every chance they are given to make their own choices is powerful.
#8 Sit and talk to someone who is homeless.
Yes, we're asking you to be brave on November 30, 2021. Don't just make eye contact and smile... sit down and have a conversation!
Some of my favorite moments have been sitting on the streets sharing tacos with my friend J talking about his love for fishing, or sitting on a sidewalk with my friend B and talking about Star Wars and our love for writing.
Every one of them is a person with a story - one that needs to be shared and heard. When you sit with them and listen you provide them with a sense of belonging. It is a powerful gift. Do not underestimate it.
#9 Don't make assumptions.
There are many reasons why people end up on the streets. Acknowledging this and refusing to make assumptions about what has brought a person to today's circumstance is more of a kindness than most realize.
#10 Be kind.
If you don't do any of the previous 9, please be kind. That's all. You don't have to go out of your way to acknowledge another person, to see that they are there, to make eye contact, and wish them a blessed day. It can be uncomfortable to be in someone's space who is suffering but until we are willing to take the first step, nothing will ever change.
Helping a neighbor, a year round way of life
Just giving back to your community on Giving Tuesday isn’t enough. You should be giving year round, giving generously, and giving of yourself. But committing to kindness on this national day of giving is a great starting point.
It takes a full community effort to end homelessness, so whether you are donating money or volunteering your time at the homeless shelter near you - do what you can!
If all this seems overwhelming for one day, remember that every little bit counts. So no matter if it is making someone smile by paying them a compliment or helping clean up litter off the street corners around town- take action today to make an impactful difference tomorrow.
Join us in ending homelessness one person at a time!