Black Friday for shoppers leads into Cyber Monday. There is also Small Business Saturday. Now there’s Giving Tuesday on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Many groups, charities and even universities hold telethons on that day.
On its surface, there’s nothing wrong with a day for giving. If it’s a rallying point for legitimate groups with needs and it raises funds, that’s a good thing. I’ve contributed when called by a deserving group on Giving Tuesday.
Now I have a confession to make. What really prompted this column was a group I consider on the fringe taking advantage of Giving Tuesday. When I received an email from Friends of the Earth asking me to donate to fight the Trump administration for ruining the environment, and doing it under the guise of Giving Tuesday — well, that’s over the top.
Another favorite tactic is sending an email asking for a signature to a petition to help stop something, usually related to what the group sees as an environmental crisis. Apparently it works or the emails wouldn’t continue. You won’t find my name on their petitions. And no, I didn’t donate to their cause on Giving Tuesday.
For legitimate needs, such as charities, FFA or Purdue Ag Alumni projects, does there need to be a special day? Isn’t any day a good day to give to a good cause? The fascination with special days for everything has run amok.
Here are some good causes in agriculture that came to the forefront during the past year. People in the middle of these crises needed help then, not on a special day once a year. Thankfully, many of you and many businesses responded.
• Relief for wildfire victims. Farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and some other states needed help after wildfires ravaged rangelands and even took human lives last spring. Many Hoosiers responded. Some donated hay, and others hauled hay to western Kansas or other locations. They returned telling stories of hay coming in from all over the country, and how it was being shipped out just as quickly to those who needed it.
Not everyone could haul hay. Cattlemen’s groups in Texas and Oklahoma set up funds specifically so people could donate money that would go to help farmers and ranchers get supplies and feed. Members from an FFA chapter in neighboring Illinois spent their spring break building fence for ranchers they didn’t even know.
• Relief for hurricane victims. Devastating hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico impacted rural areas just as hard as urban areas. Yet most of the coverage was on urban areas. The Texas and Florida Farm Bureaus set up funds for rural hurricane victims to collect money to help replace feed and other items lost by farmers and ranchers. Both rural sources of income and lifestyles were affected in those disasters.
• Many great causes. The list and stories of reactions by Hoosiers could go on. Fortunately, Hoosiers have big hearts and are willing to give of what they have, whether it be money, time or materials, for people truly in need. Here’s a big thank you to all who recognize that giving of themselves to others should be a 365-day-a-year commitment.