Out & About

Consider a different way to give this holiday season

A donor places money in a Salvation Army red kettle.
A donor places money in a Salvation Army red kettle. jvorhees@macon.com

Halloween ends, and the whirlwind of Holiday Planning begins.

With the impending manic cooking, decorating and organizing of Thanksgiving, which launches us right into Christmas, we have an opportunity to step back, take stock and start the “season of giving” with Giving Tuesday. This day is now a huge, international holiday, always taking place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 28 this year) to combat the obstinate consumerism that wages war on our sanity on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year, Georgia Gives Day has picked up and moved to Giving Tuesday, ensuring more visibility for both of the holidays, as well as the organizations that are set to benefit, such as my own Otis Redding Foundation and Bragg Jam. As the nature of giving and charity changes with the generations, more donating is being done online. And these campaigns shine huge attention on the ease of doing so, while giving organizations the tools to spread the word and gain more donations, followers and awareness for the work they do.

Some younger generations, myself included, look forward to this day as their major donating opportunity of the year, in addition to regular monthly giving and friends’ Facebook birthday campaigns.

Then, of course, we have other local giving campaigns that serve our community in need at this time of year.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission collects gifts and supplies for patients at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville as part of the annual Mayors’ and Commissioners’ Motorcade, which has been going strong since 1959. People can drop off items in the Commission Chambers at the Government Center (700 Poplar St.) or the Bibb County Courthouse (601 Mulberry St.). These gifts are sometimes the only items that patients receive during the holidays, making it all the more important to reach out and make a person feel loved.

Layaway Santa (www.gofundme.com/LayawaySantaMidGa) has become a Macon tradition, now in its fifth year.

“Last year Layaway Santa — Middle Georgia paid off 73 accounts, received more than 100 individual donations, partnered with 8 businesses, smoked 18 Boston butts, baked more than a dozen Hummingbird cakes, and sponsored a bowling night,” reads the new GoFundMe page. “Across 4 Middle Georgia Stores we paid off $10,000 in layaway items, ranging from “Star Wars” Legos and footie pajamas to bicycles and trampolines.”

It’s a pretty epic undertaking for a handful of local folks doing this in their spare time, which is a common theme throughout our community. We live in a small, Southern city that takes hospitality very seriously, and gives and gives in countless ways, big and small.

Leila Regan-Porter is the administrative assistant for the Otis Redding Foundation, the marketing co-chair for Bragg Jam and president of the Main Street Macon board. Follow her on Twitter@theleila.com.