With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, much of the focus this holiday season is on getting the best deals.
Now there is a new push nationwide to give back.
Giving Tuesday is a national platform that was started this year by a handful of corporations and non profits to celebrate and encourage charitable giving during the holiday season.
While this is the first year for the campaign, some non-profits in the La Crosse area can already see the benefits to come.
At the Hunger Task Force in La Crosse, volunteers are busy organizing and prepping the food pantry for the busy months ahead.
“People are looking at higher heating bills and with heat and rent, what do you choose?” said Shelly Krause of the Hunger Task Force. “Do you choose to feed your family or do you choose to keep them warm? So, some tough decisions for families in our area.”
These crates and shelves stacked high with donations help 60 food programs in the area.
Krause said this year's first Giving Tuesday platform helps give them a national outlet to better help those in need.
“Non profits like the Hunger Task Force, we just can't do what we do without community support,” said Krause. “You're talking about family time for yourself, and giving, and having good fellowship and let's think about our neighbors.”
The Women's Clothes Closet at our Savior's Lutheran Church in La Crosse helps women struggling in the community.
“It is heartbreaking some of the situations, especially when they're running from a situation with nothing,” said Betty Lindse, the chairwoman of the non profit. “No clothes or anything, just what they have on their backs.”
In 2011, the closet helped dress 2,200 women with hundreds of shirts, pants and shoes.
This year, the non profit has seen a 21 percent increase.
Lindse said helping an increasing number of women in need depends heavily on the generosity of the community.
“Without that our doors would not be open,” said Lindse. “Every year we see more need, all the time.”
Both Linse and Krause hope Giving Tuesday will become a part of the traditional holiday season for many years to come.
“Non-profits need your help, and so for everybody to start thinking of a ‘Giving Tuesday’ is just going to make a world of difference to us because the awareness out there is what helps us do what we do,” said Krause.
The Hunger Task Force and the Women's Clothes Closet say while Giving Tuesday is a one day event, the need for food and clothes as well as volunteers is all year round.
To learn more about “Giving Tuesday go to givingtuesday.org.