Our Opinion: Will you donate during Giving Tuesday? If so, think locally

Would it be a good idea to …

… put more prominence in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Giving Tuesday?

In the hierarchy of post-Thanksgiving traditions, Black Friday commands all the attention, with Cyber Monday, a relative newcomer on the scene, gaining traction with shoppers who prefer to point and click rather than jostle in aisles with sales-crazed consumers.

That leaves Giving Tuesday – whose promoters aim to make the day another looked-forward-to seasonal ritual – vying for your awareness, plus some of your discretionary dollars.

Shouldn’t the reverse be true? In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and as a precursor to Christmas, wouldn’t the ideal scenario be for this region’s residents to donate money, material goods and volunteer labor to aid the less fortunate and improve their communities, then hit the stores for discounted electronics and other gifts?

Now in its fourth year, Giving Tuesday strives to put greater focus on philanthropy.

Spurred by social media, this fast-growing initiative encourages people to use their “time, resources and talents to address local challenges.” In Pennsylvania, areas that have formed Giving Tuesday chapters or started local movements include Allentown, Chester, Philadelphia and Elk County, according to information at givingtuesday.org.

This area’s residents certainly don’t lack generosity. However, Giving Tuesday, which this year falls on Dec. 1, offers you another reason to think about charitable donations and perhaps hone your gift-giving so the money does the most good. Yes, writing a check for a save-the-whales association is noble; but if protecting wildlife and habitats is dear to your heart, why not put that cash to work near your own home through a group such as the North Branch Land Trust, based in Trucksville.

Area organizations such as The Luzerne Foundation and the United Way of Wyoming Valley can help to connect local residents with local groups and projects that address interest areas such as animal welfare, the arts, education, health, the elderly and poverty.

Does Giving Tuesday’s purpose dovetail with your philosophy about the meaning of the holiday season? Have you found local nonprofits doing good work in the fields that are important to you? If so, will you give to them this week?

Or do you consider charities’ solicitations in November and December as just white noise, something to, if at all possible, be ignored?

Give us your feedback by sending a letter to the editor or posting comments to this editorial at timesleader.com.

Likewise, tell us your ideas for improving the community and making area residents’ lives better. Maybe we’ll spotlight your suggestion in a future editorial and ask readers, “Would it be a good idea to …”