GivingTuesday takes place on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Following the very commercial trio of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, it is often seen as a call for sharing your dollars with charities as well as businesses, but there is a lot more to it than that, according to founders. It’s a movement that stands for “radical generosity” and “acts of care, love, and understanding that extend outward,” according the official website.
In that spirit, we have rounded up 12 ways of doing just that on the North Shore – with your money, your time, or your voice – on GivingTuesday or any day.
What are your favorite ways to give back? Share your ideas and stories!
1. Help refugees make a new home
As thousands of migrants from Haiti and South America seek refuge in Massachusetts, the need for assistance is critical. Reach out to the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center – based in Boston with offices in Lynn and Worcester – to donate a welcome basket, sponsor a family, or volunteer your time to help these recent arrivals learn the ropes in their new community. Woburn has recently seen a notable influx of refugees, so check in with Woburn Welcomes for ways to help.
2. Keep the outdoors great
The natural beauty of the North Shore is one of its greatest assets and a major reason many folks choose to live here. Donations to Mass Audubon, Essex County Greenbelt Association, and the Trustees of Reservations help keep places like the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Tompson Street Reservation, and Appleton Farms operating as vibrant destinations to connect with nature. Or get hands-on: These three groups offer volunteer opportunities ranging from staffing visitors centers to monitoring osprey nests.
3. Battle domestic violence and support survivors
Help fight back against domestic violence by supporting the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, based in Newburyport, with additional programming in Amesbury and Lawrence. The center helps people experiencing domestic violence identify the danger they are in and escape their situations, provides support for survivors, and offers interventions for children who have experienced violence. Donate online or volunteer to staff the hotline, advocate for people in court, or help out around the office.
More information available at jeannegeigercrisiscenter.org.
4. Empower girls
Esperanza Academy in Lawrence provides tuition-free private middle school education to girls from low-income families. Girls Inc. of Lynn serves girls ages 5 to 18 with programming to support them socially, emotionally, and academically. Both need generous support in the form of donations or volunteer time: Tutor an Esperanza student, invite a Girls Inc. girl to shadow you at work, or contribute with a monetary donation.
5. Feed those in need
Food assistance organizations do some of the most important charitable work there is: Keeping people fed, no matter how much money they have. And there are lots of organizations helping out that could use your support. The Open Door, based in Gloucester but serving resident across Cape Ann, needs money and volunteers to keep their food pantries, good delivery, and community meals services running smoothly. Or donate your money or time to Beverly Bootstraps, which runs a food pantry as well as summer and weekend food programs for kids. Nourishing the North Shore in Newburyport helps people access fresh, local produce.
6. Support young cancer patients
Amesbury-based organization Lucy’s Love Bus provides funding to any child diagnosed with cancer before age 21, to be used for complementary treatments or therapies – anything from acupuncture to equine therapy. It has recently expanded to provide funding to caretakers and siblings as well, providing support for the broader group of people affected by a childhood cancer diagnoses.
Visit lucyslovebus.org to learn more and make a donation.
7. Shop smart
Use the power of your holiday shopping to do good. Help keep small, independent businesses thriving by replacing chain-store gift cards with chamber of commerce gift certificates (Greater Newburyport and Cape Ann, for example) that are good at any participating local store. Or visit the Northeast Arc’s shop Parcels at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, where all the products – from beautiful pottery to handmade yard games – are made by individuals with disabilities.
8. Speak up
Are you passionate about improving public education? Fighting climate change? Preserving local history? Well, the decisions are made by those who show up, so make sure your voice is part of the conversation. Attend a municipal meeting, write letters to your lawmakers, and agitate for change wherever you see the need.
9. Boost Black stories
The region’s Black populations and history are often neglected. Help change that. Support the justice work of the North Shore branch of the NAACP or the North Shore Juneteenth Association with a donation, or get involved in advocacy campaigns or events run by each group. Also consider supporting the Lynn Museum, which has been dedicated in recent years to including and amplifying more stories about the Black history and culture of the city.
Learn more at northshorenaacp.org, north-shore-juneteenth-assoc.constantcontactsites.com, and lynnmuseum.org.
10. Help make housing more affordable
Anyone who lives around here knows that housing is getting pricier and harder to come by. Harborlight Homes is trying to help slow that trend by building and managing affordable, multi-family housing developments designed to connect residents and the community. They recently completed a 23-unit project in Rockport and are in the midst of redeveloping a former school in Beverly into senior housing and live-work artists studios.
Make it easier for families to call the North Shore home with a donation at harborlighthomes.org.
11. Dress for success
The right clothes can give people confidence, a sense of dignity, and a feeling of belonging. Uncommon Threads provide low-income women with access clothes and styling advice, to help grow their self esteem and personal development. For teens, Bell of the Ball – a program of Anton’s Cleaners, Enterprise Bank, and Jordan’s Furniture – collects, cleans, and repairs previously worn prom dresses and distributes them to girls in need.
12. Getting to work
Root, a Salem-based social enterprise, runs a catering program and an event space, but its goals go far beyond the food. Root’s mission is to train at-risk young people in the skills nee to work in food service, giving them a path forward to financial stability and professional growth. Donate money, or use your professional skills and connections to help the organization stage mock interviews, conduct outreach for events, or host a trainee at a kitchen worksite.
Learn more at rootns.org/support-root.