‘Giving Tuesday’ more important than ever amid pandemic


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The holidays are about giving back, and this year it’s more important than ever.

December 1 marks ‘Giving Tuesday,’ a day designed to promote generosity. Many people choose to donate or give back to local charities as part of the observed day of compassion.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on non-profits, not only across the Tri-Cities but all over the nation. Many have felt the impact while trying to serve an increased need, but with far less funding.

Organizations like The Crumley House in Limestone, Tennessee had to cancel their biggest fundraisers of the year due to the pandemic.

“We lost our two major fundraisers, which total somewhere in the neighborhood of $170,000 that we missed out on this year,” said Marketing Coordinator for The Crumley House Ben Trout.

Trout told News Channel 11’s Kelly Grosfield that while they weren’t able to hold their largest fundraisers, they were still able to get creative and host online fundraising events. While these smaller-scale events raised money, they still took a huge loss in 2020 and are even looking ahead to how this will impact them in 2021.

Due to the cancellation of these events and the pandemic, for the first time ever, The Crumley House is holding a ‘Season of Giving’ event that will take place the entire month of December.

Trout says you can donate through their website, or you can even make a donation while completing your Christmas shopping online.

“As opposed to going to Amazon.com and doing your Christmas shopping, you can go to SmileAmazon.com and choose a charity. You can choose The Crumley House and Amazon donates 5% of the eligible sales,” said Trout.

Trout said even a small donation of $5 will make a difference because of the great need this holiday season.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is also in great need of donations. The food bank has served more people this year than anticipated, throwing them far past their goal for the year.

“So many people are coming to food pantries and our mobile units asking for food that has never asked for food before, so we know that this year and the significance of giving far exceeds previous years,” said Exec. Director of Second Harvest Food Bank NETN, Rhonda Chafin.

Chafin said they’re trying to unite the community around the idea of giving, because so many people have been impacted by COVID and are in great need. She said their goal is to raise $100,000 that will help them acquire more food and canned items to disperse to those in need through the rest of the year.

While $100,000 is their goal, she said the need is far greater, but it’s a good start in terms of making sure those families and individuals in need stay fed.

At the Salvation Army of Johnson City, their ‘Red Kettle Campaign’ has officially kicked off and will run through December. Not only can people donate on Giving Tuesday, but also every day throughout the holiday season.

“We know COVID has impacted everybody, but that hasn’t eliminated the need, only increased the need. So if ever there was a time for people to dig deep and open up their hearts, the time is now,” said Salvation Army of Johnson City, Capt. Antwann Yocum.

During 2020, the Salvation Army of Johnson City has continued to provide emergency shelter, transitional housing for veterans and food for those in need.

Donations are always welcome, whether they be through the Red Kettle campaign or online.

The United Way of East Tennessee Highlands is no stranger to Giving Tuesday. In fact, they hosted an untraditional Giving Tuesday event earlier this year aimed at raising funds for relief during the pandemic.

Leslie Salling, the President & CEO of United Way East TN Highlands, said they reached their goal then and hope to do the same during their season of giving, which is happening now.

“We were able to give out $250,000 in COVID relief already this year just by people helping in the community, so we’re positive that our community will step up again and help us meet that goal,” said Salling.

This time around, it’s still helping with COVID relief but through their usual annual campaign. The goal is set at $1.5 million, and those funds will be dispersed to 40 non-profits located in Washington County, Tennessee and surrounding counties.

This campaign kicked off in August and goes through December 31. According to Salling, they are 70% of the way to their goal and hope that Giving Tuesday pushed them over the top.

Along with these local non-profits, animal shelters are also in great need of donations this Giving Tuesday.

Officials with these non-profits encourage everyone who can donate this Giving Tuesday to help out whether the donation be large or small, it’s all appreciated.

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