Sandra Richardson: Giving Tuesday a day made for community

Recently, I was out visiting the Food Distribution Centre in Esquimalt, a key component of the Food Rescue Project, which recovers and redistributes fresh food to insecure communities in our region.

While there, I noticed that the shelves, usually overflowing with canned food and household goods, were looking a little bare. I asked why and found out that increased need, combined with a dip in donations, makes this time of year a little more challenging.

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And I think we all know that. As the weather turns colder, the days shorter and the abundance of summer fades away, those who struggle at the best of times find themselves struggling that much more.

This is why we are encouraged this time of year to put more of our thoughts and resources towards giving, and it’s the reason Giving Tuesday has become such a valuable and essential part of the holiday season.

Each year, more and more people and organizations are participating in Giving Tuesday. For anyone new to the idea, it’s a day following Black Friday and Cyber Monday where we are each encouraged to take a break from holiday spending and set our sights on giving back to our community. This year it falls on Dec. 3.

While financial donations are certainly a key part of Giving Tuesday, the day also encourages participating through volunteering and offering to help in whatever way is available to you.

We have an incredible and inspiring charitable sector here in Greater Victoria. When you spend as much time as I do with civil society organizations, you get a real sense of how great an impact they make in our community.

It’s the generosity of residents in our region that allows these organizations to make such a huge difference. Whether it be through time, talent or treasure, or all three, it’s the kindness of everyone in our region that keeps these organizations operating and inspired.

There are so many wonderful organizations working in so many important areas, it can boggle the mind. This is where the Victoria Foundation can help, by using our deep roots in the community to help those looking to give find the best way to make the greatest impact in addressing the issues they care about the most. We help spread the word of individual organizations participating in Giving Tuesday, as well as provide our core philanthropic services of connecting people who care with causes that matter.

This Giving Tuesday, I encourage everyone to find out how good it feels to give, in whatever way you can. And for those looking for a helping hand, please stop by or call the Victoria Foundation. We’re here to help.

Sandra Richardson is CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

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