Anyone looking to be added to Santa’s nice list following the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday can redeem themselves by donating their extra cash to area charities on Tuesday, known globally as Giving Tuesday.
Since its inception in 2012, Giving Tuesday allows individuals the opportunity to give back during the holidays through charitable contributions to a cause or nonprofit of their choice. Several area agencies are participating in the initiative with goals of providing meals, expanding programs or offering needed services to the community.
Ozarks Food Harvest is asking the community to meet its $15,000 fundraising goal in hopes of providing 60,000 meals to families throughout the region. The Springfield-based food bank serves meals to 270 agencies in 28 counties in Southwest Missouri, including Crosslines Ministries in Joplin and Carthage, the Salvation Army in Joplin and Carthage, and St. Peter’s Outreach House in Joplin.
“One of the great things about Ozarks Food Harvest is that it’s one of the best bang-for-your-buck donations because we can take $1 and turn that into four meals, or we could even turn that $1 into $10 worth of meal distribution through our facilities,” said Jordan Browning, advocacy coordinator.
About 1 in 5 children and 1 in 7 adults struggle with hunger in Southwest Missouri, according to Browning.
Feeding Missouri, the Feeding America food bank coalition for Missouri, will match donations this year, up to $5,000. If Ozarks Food Harvest ends up with a total of $20,000 with the matching donation, then it could provide an additional 20,000 meals.
“We want to make sure that people who are struggling with food insecurity in Southwest Missouri are going to have a meal for this holiday season, which is a really important time, but we do like to emphasize that hunger is an issue 365 days a year, not just during the holidays,” Browning said. “We definitely see an uptick in November and December, so people are needing additional food assistance.”
Donations will be accepted at ozarksfoodharvest.org/donate or through the Ozarks Food Harvest Facebook page.
Power of Giving Tuesday
The Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri, 701 S. Joplin Ave., offers medical and dental services to those without insurance. This will be the clinic’s third consecutive year to participate in Giving Tuesday, having previously raised more than $90,000 for programs, services and a financial endowment.
Executive Director Stephanie Brady said Giving Tuesday is one of the clinic’s largest, most successful fundraising initiatives.
“The first year of Giving Tuesday, we had a goal of $25,000, and we raised $42,500,” she said. “The second year, we had a goal of $50,000, and we raised $50,050. It’s a game changer for us. It really helps us to meet the need in the community and make sure that we’re able to serve all of our patients without having to turn people away.”
This year, the clinic aims to raise $60,000 with the goal of expanding its services and increasing its endowment. It doesn’t receive any government funding and relies on public and private donations.
“With Giving Tuesday last year, we added women’s health services — the gynecology service — and developed an endowment,” Brady said. “This year, we’re going to use some of the money to further develop our endowment, expand our women’s health services and expand pediatric dental services.”
The Giving Tuesday contributions also help the clinic fund laboratory tests and screenings. The endowment was created to better prepare for the clinic’s future, Brady said.
“We need to be able to provide the services, and we have an old building, so we wanted the endowment to manage issues that our building may have in the future and to not take away from our patient care,” she said.
Donations can be made through Facebook, joplinclinic.org or in person.
The Webb City Schools Foundation will participate in Giving Tuesday for the first time this year to benefit Project LIT, a book club at the junior high school. Kelli Frazier, foundation director, said the goal is to raise $5,000 for the program before the end of the year. Its crowdfunding campaign will begin Tuesday and run until Dec. 31.
“Project LIT is a nationwide book club, and we’re one of 900 chapters in the United States at the junior high,” Frazier said. “It just got started last year. They give a free book to each child who wants to participate, and then they have a book club meeting once a month. Community members and teachers are invited to participate where there’s breakfast, door prizes, games and book discussions.”
Up to 100 junior high students participate in the program.
Donations can be made at wcr7.org, in person at 411 N. Madison St. or by phone at 417-673-6000.