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‘Tis the Season of Giving by Cate Mellen

posted by Michelle Bell | November 28, 2017

We’re all back at work after our self-induced food comas of last Thursday and what looks to have been a record-breaking long weekend of conspicuous consumption across the nation.

Black Friday retail sales were down in brick and mortar stores, but made HUGE gains online this year, and Forbes estimates that a record $6.6 BILLION was spent online yesterday in what has become known as “Cyber” Monday.

Americans are finding it more convenient to turn to the internet to make our holiday purchases, and retailers are in a cut-throat competition against each other for our hard-earned dollars at this time of year, as we all try to get the best deals on the hot new toys and gadgets for our loved ones.

I’m not immune—I indulged in a little bit of retail therapy over the weekend myself. I bought some gifts for the folks on my list, and then, because I had “saved” so much money with these online sales, I decided to get myself a little something, too. I spent $35 at a national electronics retailer yesterday for $95 worth of gadgets, and all while still in my pajamas. Free shipping is a powerful drug…

But did you know that it is just as easy to give back to your community as it is to get all of the gifts you need for underneath your Christmas tree? Organizations like the Carlisle Family YMCA have online pages to make donating quick and easy. One click, from the comfort of your own home, allows you to support your favorite charitable causes.

Imagine if we could direct just a fraction of the $6.6 BILLION we collectively spent yesterday to do good in our community. I personally saved $60 in just one transaction off of the normal retail price of my purchases. Do you know what kind of good your local non-profits can do with $60? Here at the Y, $60 can give a child a 3-week session of swimming lessons to keep them safe around water.

At the YMCA, every year, with the help of folks just like you, we give back to the less fortunate in our community. We provide free or reduced-rate child care for struggling single mothers so they can work with dignity in order to better themselves and provide a brighter future for their families. We offer scholarships to our youth sports programs and our summer camps, so that all children, regardless of their parents’ circumstances, can experience the wonder of the outdoors, the strength of teamwork and the beauty of finding themselves. Our programs make children healthier not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

This year, I challenge each of you to pay some of your Black Friday / Cyber Monday savings forward to the community by supporting your favorite non-profit. Won't you please join us in celebrating Giving Tuesday by making a gift to our year-end Tree of Lights campaign? Purchase a light on our holiday tree in memory or in honor of a loved one, and know that you will be supporting less fortunate members of our community. Help make a local child healthier and happier this holiday season!

-by Cate Mellen, Development Director​