Dear SEEN Community,
Are we one of a few dozen emails in your inbox today talking about Giving Tuesday? Well, we assure you this one is different, because nowhere here are we asking you to give money.
Giving Tuesday developed as a counter to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – days that have now become a whole week or month in Covid-times. Giving Tuesday is about “unleashing radical generosity.” This day is for small donors and for acts of kindness, because even though we’ll surely hear about the billions of dollars given worldwide, or corporate matches, 57% of people who gave on Giving Tuesday last year gave less than $100. And while giving money is the most popular single action on Giving Tuesday, the most common thing is to do more — most people don’t just give money, but also give time, give items or food, and give consideration.
We’re encouraging everyone to do just that today, and sharing a few different ideas of how to give this Tuesday, to think about giving every Tuesday, and to finish the day by giving your attention to some of the people who give the most in building inclusive classrooms – our teachers – and how we can support them. At the core of “radical generosity” is the belief that another’s suffering is as intolerable as your own. It is a commitment to ensure each and every individual has the opportunity to thrive, and that is also (not coincidentally) at the core of DEI initiatives. Join us in showing up today, and giving with the goal of recognizing that some things shouldn’t be limited to just one day, or to gifts. We shouldn’t need to rely on the generosity of others to be able to afford groceries or graduate high school. Those should be givens, not gifts.
- Go to your bookshelf, find a diverse, representative, or inclusive book you loved or your family has outgrown, and deposit it in a SEEN Little Free Library (located at Ben & Jerry’s, Franklin Community Center, and Saratoga Recreation Center), or another LFL in your neighborhood. If you have more to give, go to Northshire, pick out an inclusive book, and then buy two copies – one for their Book Angels tree and one for a Little Free Library.
- Franklin Community Center needs bags. Maybe you have too many reusable grocery bags, or maybe you still have a stash of clean plastic grocery bags under your sink. Franklin Community Center’s food pantry is in need of bags. Just drop them off to the Pantry between 9 and 3:30 (Monday through Thursday), or at the drop box at 10 Franklin Street. If you’re stopping to drop a book, why not bring it with some bags?
- Vote in the Times Union Capital District Gives to boost support for local nonprofits, and learn about some right here in Saratoga. You give your clicks, and help give away other people’s money to nonprofits who continue to give in our community throughout the year.
- Our unhoused neighbors have access to Code Blue during the winter months, but they are also in desperate need of long underwear, warm coats and socks. Take a look at Saratoga Stronger’s Amazon wish list. Also, if you set your Amazon Smile to a local nonprofit or your school PTA/PTO/HSA, you can shop through Amazon Smile instead of the main site and effectively give twice. You can set this up in your Amazon account, and it is frankly the best reason to ever shop Amazon.
- Deposit new mittens and hats at the tree at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. This used to be in the Children’s Room, but it’s now on the first floor when you enter.
- Park or Street Cleanup. We’ve all been to one of the playgrounds, a Rec Center, or walked down Broadway or through Congress Park and seen litter. You don’t need to wait for an organized cleanup – you can do it now and organize one yourself. Grab some gloves and a bag, and go with friends in your neighborhood. Make your afternoon playdate into a call to service.
- Similarly, you can run your own food drive in your neighborhood. Put a box outside, make a poster, and send an email to friends and neighbors to donate canned goods, boxed foods, proteins, jams, and other shelf-stable items. You can donate these to LifeWorks Community Action’s food pantry to support those who “shop” the pantry in Ballston Spa, or who rely on their Rural Food Delivery Program.
- Give your email address. If you’re making a donation through Facebook or another platform, please share your email address with the organization. Why? Because that’s at least as valuable as your monetary contribution – it allows an organization to add you to their mailing list, so you can see what they’re doing throughout the year. The most giving (of any kind) comes from repeat donors, so open yourself to that possibility.
- Join in the Menorah Lighting in front of Congress Park on Thursday, December 2 at 5:30 p.m., hosted by Saratoga Chabad. Your presence is an action celebrating the light in each of us, and a way to combat antisemitism.
- Make a plan to continue giving. When Giving Tuesday talks about unleashing radical generosity, they’re talking about using Tuesday as a launchpad for continued giving and for changing your approach to daily life. Sign up to volunteer at Shelters of Saratoga, where they need people to answer phones, to pick up meals and bring them to the shelter, to help serve guests, and to provide support in events. Or you can volunteer at C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, or another local nonprofit whose mission you support. Did you know that Double H Ranch looks for people to help with ski weekends and winter sports in the winter months?
- Take a look at Giving Tuesday’s “Giving Every Tuesday” Campaign for more ideas.
But there’s one way to end this special day with radical generosity at the front of your mind:
Please join us TONIGHT, November 30, at 7 p.m. for a discussion about the other CRT – Culturally Responsive Teaching. Our panel of P-12 educators will share how they create welcoming and inclusive classrooms, and what culturally responsive teaching (the “other CRT”) looks like in action when those bridges are being built. We will also discuss what community members can do to support districts and educators who are engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion work and to combat the misinformation campaign surrounding Critical Race Theory. Register and share!
This program is the second in the series “Critical Conversations: A Community Forum on Critical Race Theory,” a collaboration between Saratoga Educational Equity Network (SEEN), MLK Saratoga, Skidmore College’s Black Studies Program, and Empire State College’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
~ The SEEN Team