Giving Tuesday: Being Charitable To Those In Need

The Tuesday following Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday. It was a movement started about six years ago by a New York City YMCA on 92nd Street in concert with a component within the United Nations.

The movement has gained international following and is a time when people are called upon to be charitable to those in need. The worthy causes out there can be overwhelming, so it is important to think about what resonates the most with you.

This is particularly important when you have a budget with which to give, which is the case with most people. The causes that are the “closest to your heart” will become the priority. In the event that you are new to donating, then check out Charity Navigator or Guide Star, two websites that inspect and rank charities based on their financial responsibility, transparency, and the amount of funds that go to the cause versus administrative/fundraising costs.

The past holiday weekend featured news and promotions for stores and for online shopping deals. The weekend is an ideal time to get gifts for your loved ones for Christmas. The point of today, Giving Tuesday, is to give back to those who are less fortunate, to help advance research of various diseases, and to pool our resources to help solve the problems in our society.

The act of charity is seen by some as not a popular thing in what many people portray Americans as consumed by materialism or their own self-gain. I disagree with the portrayal and know that many Americans are very generous, and although we are the wealthiest nation, we are also the most generous nation on Earth.
The platform of social media will be used to raise awareness and funds on Giving Tuesday as Facebook, Twitter, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will all be doing matching of some kind based on the gifts given today by generous Americans.

This is a good time to take a personal inventory of all that you have in your life that you are grateful for, and to think about how you could give of your excess resources to help those causes or people that really need assistance. Your generosity will help many worthy organizations to provide services and programs to people who are struggling and suffering.

Here are some worthy causes and four star rated charities that could be a potential partner for your donation activity today:
Salvation Army:
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: 866-232-8484
Catholic Charities 800-919-9338
Food For The Poor: www.foodforthe 800-427-9104
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255
Samaritan’s Purse:
Zero- The End of Prostate Cancer: 888-245-9455
MAP International : 800-225-8550

Thank you for your support of Giving Tuesday and for giving to “the least of these”. God bless you.

Edgewater Fire: The Aftermath & How To Help

On a cold and windy night last Wednesday, January 21st, the Avalon at Edgewater apartment complex in Edgewater, NJ was engulfed in a horrible 5 alarm fire. It took many hours for the 500 first responders from 35 towns in New Jersey and New York to finally control the blaze but not before several of the 408 units in the complex received damage or were completely destroyed.


The reports from the media in North Jersey state that the police investigation determined that the fire was accidentally started by maintenance workers who were using a blowtorch to fix a leaking pipe in the southern end of the complex. The Borough of Edgewater took steps today to set aside over $240,000 in funds to cover the estimated costs of dealing with this massive fire.


In the end, these tragic events initially displaced 400 families, according to the American Red Cross. However, some of those families have been able to return to their homes, but 240 families lost their homes completely. Most of those people also lost everything that they owned. It is estimated that 1,000 people were impacted in some degree by this terrible tragedy.


Edgewater Strong


It has been about one week since the fire in Edgewater, and the focus is now on how to help those who are in desperate need and are displaced from their homes during a stretch of brutal winter weather in New Jersey.


First, the Borough government began a Go Fund Me page for the victims which has raised over $60,000.00 for those in need. I will include the link because several pages are up on that site related to the Edgewater fire, but this is the official page set up by the Mayor:


Next, a non-profit called Edgewater Strong was started to accept and receive donations of gifts-in-kind of supplies, food, and clothing. They received so many donations the volunteers have been overwhelmed by the response.


The Red Cross stepped in and provided disaster relief services including finding temporary shelter for those displaced. I talked with a Red Cross public relations spokesperson yesterday regarding my own personal interest in donating and I was told that the need for cash donations is critical at this point to help those who are displaced to assist in paying rent or for hotel rooms for temporary shelter.


The other pressing need moving forward is for money for school supplies because the fire destroyed the supplies of more than 150 children. The town is hopeful that those children can continue going to school in the district, but the reality is that some families might have to find temporary housing at a distance from the schools in Edgewater, which will force the children to lose their sense of stability and continuity.


How To Help


If you would like to take action and help those impacted by this horrendous fire in Edgewater, you can use the link mentioned earlier in this article to visit the Go Fund Me page set up by the Borough.


Next, you could contact the American Red Cross, as the spokesperson told me yesterday they have provided disaster relief to 7 more fires in the 7 days since the Edgewater blaze just in North Jersey alone. The Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-Red-Cross or or you can mail a check to:

American Red Cross – North Jersey Region

209 Fairfield Rd

Fairfield, NJ 07004


Please keep in mind that if you donate to the Red Cross you cannot stipulate that the funds go directly to the Edgewater fire, they provide disaster relief to any number of situations including fires.


Additionally, you could contact Edgewater Strong to help with educational supply related costs by writing a check to:

Edgewater Education Foundations (appears on check)

Edgewater Strong

c/o EVG School

251 Undercliff Ave

Edgewater, NJ 07020


This fire at the Edgewater at Avalon complex was one of the most horrific fires I have ever seen. Some of the residents there have been displaced at the worst possible time of the year in the dead of winter and lost everything. If you can help in any way they need your support and generosity. I know that through this tragedy will come the promise that tomorrow holds for a better future for those effected.


(Background information courtesy of North and ABC