giving_tues“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward

‘Tis the season for giving! November officially kicks off the holiday season with America’s favorite foodie holiday — Thanksgiving. It is the month where we are once again reminded of all of the things we are thankful for as we gather with family and friends, stuff ourselves with turkey and pumpkin pie, and watch (a lot) of football.

It’s fitting, then, that November has been dubbed National Gratitude Month here in the United States. Americans are encouraged to ‘practice gratitude’ which goes beyond just feeling thankful, and actively showing gratitude by giving back. While ideally it is something we should be practicing all year long, people are more likely to give more generously during the holiday season than the rest of the year. According to the annual Holiday Giving Survey conducted by Harris Poll, more than 3 in 5 Americans (63%) typically donate to an organization or charitable cause in the last two months of the year (known as giving season). Americans are among the world’s most generous people, ranking No. 4 out of 140 countries. Utah has consistently ranked the most charitable state in the nation, coming in second this year behind Minnesota.

Beyond the obvious benefit of helping and enhancing the lives of others, research shows that practicing daily gratitude can enhance our own moods, decrease stress and drastically improve our overall level of wellbeing. On average, grateful people tend to be happier, healthier, more physically fit, have a higher income and have much more satisfying personal and professional relationships. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Today, after a weekend of fighting Black Friday crowds and searching for Cyber Monday deals, is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a day where individuals and families are encouraged to give back to the community by donating to non-profit organizations. Here are some ways you can ‘give back’ to the Salt Lake community today and throughout this holiday season.

1- The Road Home’s Candy Cane Corner

Each December, The Road Home creates a holiday store for families in our shelter and housing programs, Candy Cane Corner. This store gives parents an empowering opportunity to select gifts for their family. Donations of new clothing, toys and household items are needed from early November though December to stock the store. To view their current needs list and other ways to help, click here.

2- Utah Food Bank

Utah Food Bank’s annual Holiday Food & Fund Drive helps stock the shelves of Utah Food Bank and emergency food pantries statewide through the holidays and into the spring months. On average, over 500 community groups and businesses across the state register food and fund drives during this busy time. Drop off your donation at one of the many locations throughout the state or click here for more info.

3- Utah Youth Village – Sub for Santa

Sub-for-Santa sponsors provide gifts for a Utah Youth Village child and/or financial contributions to underwrite a child’s Christmas. Most of these children are wards of the State who have never lived in a loving family and may never have even received a gift. If you would like to become a Sub-for-Santa, please contact Justin Anderson at (801) 272-9980, or by email at janderson@youthvillage.org. Click here for info on making a donation.

4- Shelter the Homeless/Home4Change

Shelter the Homeless is a nonprofit that owns the homeless shelter properties in Salt Lake City and Midvale, as well as the properties of the three new resource centers (one of which will replace The Road Home in June 2019). Every dollar donated is matched by the Larry H. and Gail Miller Foundation up to $10 million (over $5 million has been raised so far). To donate, click here.

5- The Humane Society of Utah

Don’t forget about our homeless pets! Your Giving Tuesday donation (or any other day of the year) will provide nourishing food, safe shelter, lifesaving medical care and loving families for homeless and neglected animals in Utah. Donate here or find ways you can volunteer or foster a pet this holiday season.

The easiest way to practice gratitude is to say THANK YOU to someone who has helped you or impacted your life in a positive way or spending time with a loved one who may be lonely or going through a difficult time. Your words and your time are often the best gifts!

Happy ‘Giving!’ #givingtuesday

-The Novation Team