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After a four-day, pre-Christmas shopping-spree, consumers are being reminded to set something aside for those in need.
In a succession of named days, Giving Tuesday came on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both considered to be major indicators of this holiday season’s consumer spending. But with Giving Tuesday came the clarion call for awareness and to action that was echoed around the world.
In Sydney, Cape Breton Regional Municipality council members and staff gathered outside of the civic centre for a few minutes to hear Coun. Steve Gillespie read the CBRM’s proclamation acknowledging the day and to take part in the raising of the Giving Tuesday flag, which in this country is a white heart containing a red Canadian maple leaf and set in the middle of an all-red background.
Following the brief event, United Way of Cape Breton executive director Lynne McCarron explained that there are many ways to give back to the community.
“It could be a matter of doing a kind deed for somebody, volunteering for an organization, picking up food for somebody or just being kind to others, but it’s also the time to make people aware of the community needs around them,” said McCarron, who was on hand at city hall to take part in the recognition of the global day of giving.
“We think there is a little bit more of a need because of COVID, but I will say that the government has stepped up and given us lots of extra money to help off-set that, it’s not quite enough but it’s very positive.
“The non-profit sector has also been very good to collaborate with and to share resources and share support, so this has been a good opportunity to work together in a united way to make sure that people in need get the help they need and that the people that have are able to share their resources.”
Cape Breton University also got into the spirit of giving on Tuesday when it announced its participation in a province-wide campaign to support university food banks in Nova Scotia. The initiative will see the J & W Murphy Foundation match the funds raised by each school with a guaranteed minimum of $3,500 per post-secondary institution.
Annabel Alu, the Cape Breton Students’ Union Food Bank co-ordinator, confirmed there is a local need for help in regard to the food security of students.
“Because of the current global pandemic and campus being closed to the general public, we have been working extremely hard to ensure students have access to the food they need by bringing the food bank into the community,” said Alu.
“This initiative will help us meet this demand and we are forever grateful.”
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettles Campaign is going high-tech in an effort to promote social distancing protocols for both those donating to the fund drive and to protect the volunteers who traditionally stand watch over the kettles.
The national project is in partnership with Rogers Communications and will include 94 touchless Christmas kettles across the Maritimes. Maj. Jamie Locke of the Salvation Army Maritime Division said it’s hoped the innovative technology will allow donors to more easily contribute to the cause.
“We’re hoping this will provide a safe method of giving during the pandemic as well as boosting potential donations by granting people another opportunity to give in a way other than by just cash,” said Locke
“But even pre-COVID we were quickly moving toward a cash-light society. And it’s just about making an electronic donation, it’s about making it quickly and then moving on so that there’s no disruption in the flow of traffic in the retail environments.”
And, hopefully, no major disruptions to the flow of donations into Salvation Army Christmas kettles.
“We continue to see an increase in need and demand upon our services across the Maritimes, and that, of course, includes Cape Breton — we appreciate the public trust and we will continue to serve the vulnerable population the best we can,” said Locke.
David Jala is a political reporter at the Cape Breton Post.
- Giving Tuesday to be celebrated in CBRM December 1
- GIVING TUESDAY: How to help make a difference in Atlantic Canada this holiday season
- GIVING TUESDAY: Why it's more important than ever to donate this year — and what to keep in mind before you do
- SARAH LYON: Leave room in your heart and wallet for Giving Tuesday