First there was Black Friday, which began innocently enough a few decades ago (well before tablets and 70-inch TVs) as a way for retailers to jump start the holiday shopping season and hopefully get their ledger books out of the red (losses) and into the black (profits). Then came Cyber Monday, a term coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation to identify the increase in shopping online (much of it from work computers) following the Thanksgiving weekend. In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday, completing the shop-’til-you-drop trifecta despite its noble effort to support local businesses and lack of can’t-miss deals.
Giving Tuesday is the altruist’s answer to all of that rampant consumerism. Founded in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd St. Y in New York City, it is defined on its website as “a global day dedicated to giving back,” which has “engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide.” Appropriately, a photo taken in support and uploaded to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook is called an #unselfie.
There are lots of ways to give, and they don’t all involve writing a check. Participants volunteer at soup kitchens, donate bone marrow, organize food drives, teach people to read — you get the idea. You can give globally, to groups like Empowered Women International, nationally — End Hunger Network — or focus your #GivingTuesday efforts right here in Maine. On the Boothbay peninsula, a diverse group of 26 nonprofits have recently organized under the moniker Boothbay Treasures; members include the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the Institute for Family-Owned Business, Lincoln County Healthcare and the Boothbay Region Student Aid Fund.
On Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m., Boothbay Treasures will be part of a community supper at the Boothbay Region Elementary School — an annual event to showcase the healthy lunches served to students. On the menu: “chicken casserole, American chopped suey, macaroni and cheese, a baked potato bar and sliced roast turkey with homemade yeast rolls, salad, cookies, water, coffee, tea, and milk,” according to a press release. It’s free to attend and donations will be taken to benefit the Boothbay Treasures organizations in attendance and the school lunch program — just the kind of grassroots event Maine does so well.
Individually, plenty of Maine organizations are hoping for your support on #GivingTuesday. Find a full list at givingtuesday.org/maine.