In 2012 Henry Timms, executive director of the acclaimed cultural and community center 92nd Street Y, created #GivingTuesday as a way to harness the goodwill of the holiday season. His idea was to use the day as a time to promote giving back to those in need, to your community, to raise awareness of important causes and to simply perform acts of kindness that make the world a nicer place. All of these things are important year-round, but especially on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Very quickly, more organizations joined the #GivingTuesday effort, including our friends at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) as well as the United Nations Foundation , Mashable and many other organizations and companies.
That’s why I am so happy to share the news that I have made a contribution to another amazing organization that helps those in need, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK).
Located in New Haven, Connecticut, DESK has been in existence for 30 years and serves thousands and thousands of meals every year. As I have heard from many of the other soup kitchens and food pantries that are supported by the Tariq Farid Foundation, the need has been increasing steadily over the past couple of years even after a large portion of the economy is said to have been recovered.
In 2013, DESK provided 132,333 evening meals at its soup kitchen, 65,114 food pantry bags and 22,600 bag lunches. In 2010, shortly after the height of the great recession, these numbers were lower at 104,008; 58,522 and 14,760 respectively. Even as the economy improves as a whole, it is clearly not improving for everyone.
The faces of those who need to use the services of the DESK soup kitchen are also changing, and now include more working adults and working families with children who, even though they are working, cannot always afford food.
Despite the growing need for the services provided by DESK, some funding sources have dwindled, making it harder for DESK to meet demand. If there is an organization you’d like to assist this #GivingTuesday, I’d proudly suggest DESK. To learn more about DESK, go here and to donate, go here.
It’s great to have a day set aside to bring recognition to the importance of giving back—to your community, to a cause, to those in need. But this is just one day! Let’s use this day to remind ourselves that giving back is always important and shouldn’t happen only once a year! So, whether it’s a small donation, a large donation, helping to raise awareness of a cause, volunteering your time or performing acts of kindness, let’s keep the spirit of #GivingTuesday alive year round!
And in honor of #GivingTuesday, I want to share a few photos of some of the DESK volunteers who are giving on a daily basis.