Aging Well

Aging Well

Global generosity on display in small acts on #GivingTuesday

Posted May 5, 2020 11:10 a.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2020 1:56 p.m. EDT

Residents of New Bern House share food, books and inspirational messages with passers-by during the pandemic

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the need so prominently displayed in the news.

Nearly 30 million, almost one in four working Americans, have filed for unemployment. Whereas one in seven Americans relied on food banks before the pandemic, demand has doubled or tripled, the US food banks recently told Reuters.

What can an individual do?

At the beginning of the quarantine, Lillian Holmes, an eleventh grader, reached out to her community offering to bake them something in exchange for a donation to the Interfaith Food Shuttle, raising $150. Pete Farquhar galvanized a group of volunteers to offer free grocery delivery, dog walking or technology help to several hundred residents over 70 in quarantine in his and surrounding neighborhoods. A group of women in downtown Raleigh put their sewing skills to task and have made and distributed hundreds of masks to those in most need. Catherine Bishir, a senior who is shut-in herself, makes a call to one quarantined person a day. Ruth Landers prioritizes writing one. Anita Sawhney donates blood. There is no shortage of stories.

What all these individuals perhaps understand is that while the gesture may seem small or inconsequential, in these times in particular, it can mean the world.

And an unexpected side effect of giving: it works some magic on the giver, too.

I share these stories on GivingTuesday#, a global generosity movement in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. As their website states, “Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor out, ... every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give. Identify your gifts, pick a cause that gets you fired up, and give back - for GivingTuesday, but every day."

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