'Giving Tuesday': The charitable antidote to Black Friday, Cyber Monday
As the dust begins to settle after the shopping frenzy that spanned the weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, charities are asking Canadians to start December with a different kind of spending.
"Giving Tuesday" is a day when North Americans are encouraged to pause their shopping and consider donating time or money to a worthy cause.
"Giving Tuesday is a response to Black Friday or Cyber Monday," Plan Canada's director of program management, Sangita Patel, told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday.
More than 4,000 Canadian organizations have partnered together to mark the event, which is also called the "opening day of the giving season."
According to the group of organizations, Giving Tuesday is growing at a faster rate than Black Friday.
In 2014, Black Friday sales revenue grew 26 per cent in Canada, while Giving Tuesday donations grew an "astounding" 205 per cent, a Nov. 25 press release from the group says.
Patel's organization bills Giving Tuesday as a chance to give back after splurging all weekend—and an opportunity to purchase meaningful holiday gifts.
Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope program allows Canadians to donate in the name of a loved one, and then send that loved one a holiday card explaining the contribution.
"It's a win for yourself, the person who gets to receive an ethical gift, and also the children and the families overseas," Patel said.
A goat, a sheep, and a trio of chickens joined Patel on Canada AM on Tuesday, to help her demonstrate the type of gifts Canadians can give.
"We have a catalogue that's very diverse and with different price points as well," she said. "From as little as $10 dollars for bed nets all the way up to ambulances and building schools."
Donating to Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope program isn't the only way to contribute on Giving Tuesday.
In Toronto, the Boost Child and Youth Advocacy Centre poured red sand into cracks in the sidewalk.
The eye-catching display is meant to make child abuse and human trafficking "visible" in Canada's largest city.
"The Red Sand Project is a real opportunity for us to draw attention to the fact that there are so many children that are being abused -- sexually abused, sexually exploited on the Internet, and unfortunately more recently, sexually trafficked," Boost President Karyn Kennedy told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.
In past years, Canadians have also contributed to the day through volunteering or giving donations other than money, such as food, shoes, or blood, the organizations at givingtuesday.ca say.
"Today is a celebration of giving," Marina Glogovac, the president and CEO of CanadaHelps, said in a statement to CTVNews.ca. "It's about much more than just donations - it's about Canadians giving back in whatever way they can and recognizing that charities matter to all of us."