Many of us had a Thanksgiving holiday spent with family and friends. Several of us watched football, some hiked and a few decorated for Christmas. Several did a little shopping on Black Friday while most decided to avoid the crowds and wait until today to hit the Cyber Monday sales. However you spent your time over the past four days, please don’t forget about the significance of tomorrow, too. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 27, is Giving Tuesday – a day decidedly not about consumption, but about giving back. In the midst of consuming and shopping for loved ones comes Giving Tuesday, an opportunity to give a gift to a family in need.

The United Way of Southern West Virginia is excited about teaming up with 59 News for a “Hope for the Holidays” campaign, this week, Nov. 26-30, with a major push being made on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27. Hope for the Holidays has one mission and you can help us reach our goal: to raise as much money as we can, as fast as we can, to help meet our funding promises to our agency partners who provide resources and services to those in need.

Here’s how our Giving Tuesday campaign is going to work: Starting at 8 a.m. on Giving Tuesday, Facebook is matching donations dollar for dollar, and that means whatever you donate could be doubled. Fox 59/CBS 59 will be simultaneously broadcasting from the TV station and from remote business locations to encourage the community to come out and donate. All you have to do is head over to the 59 News Facebook Live and hit the donate button to contribute to keep food pantries across our region stocked, not only for the holiday season, but the rest of the year.

The earlier you give, the more likely your money will be matched by Facebook as part of their Giving Tuesday campaign. Facebook will match donations made across their platform up to $7,000,000 total starting 8 a.m. EST. Donors should be ready to donate starting after that time. Facebook will only match up to $250,000 per agency and matches are only made up to the $7 million limit, so early donation is key. If you don’t have a credit card or Pay Pal account linked to Facebook, you can set that up before Tuesday. All donations qualify as charitable giving and are tax-deductible as per individual circumstances.

One of the essential missions of the United Way is to ensure children of all ages have food. One in six children in our region is considered food insecure. That means these kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or when. There are very few people who better understand that struggle than the volunteers who are doing the hard work every day to feed children and families. As one volunteer said, “Some of these people, they’ve had jobs, they worked all their lives, and something has happened that has changed that course, so for a lot of people, these food pantries and basic needs charities are the last hope.”

United Way of Southern West Virginia funds over 40 agencies that are working in the trenches with families who are struggling with poor health, lack of transportation, incomplete education, poverty and hunger to name a few. UW funds baby pantries at Child Protect, The Beckley Dream Center and the Gabriel Project. UW funds food pantries like Carpenter’s Corner, Food for Body and Soul, The Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes, Catholic Charities and The Bland County Ministry. UW supports feeding programs at each county’s Commission on Aging, each county’s Family Resource Network, SALS, Coda Mountain Academy, The Wade Center, Starting Points, Big Creek People in Action, High Rocks and Warms Hands from Warm Hearts.

Giving any amount of money makes a difference to our neighbors in need. Big or small, every donation on Giving Tuesday will help us keep our local food pantries stocked all year long and keep our agencies running. It’s also important to remember that with United Way, money raised here stays here. Ninety-nine cents of every dollar stays in southern West Virginia.

Also, be sure to tune in on Tuesday to Fox 59 / CBS 59. Veteran 59 News Anchor Jessica Schueler will be returning to anchor a Giving Tuesday special with your United Way of Southern West Virginia executive director, Michelle Rotellini. 59 News will also be out interviewing major donors throughout the morning at two live locations. Riley Phillips and Brandon VanSickel will be in Wyoming County at Westside Pharmacy in Oceana with Devonna West. Heidi Moore will be on location with Chase Barton at King Coal Chevrolet and Ricky Cornett from Jan Care Ambulance.

Hope isn’t a one-man band. We’re all in this together. Giving Tuesday is your opportunity to take part in advancing the common good of southern West Virginia. Help us fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Please join United Way and 59 News to bring Hope for the Holidays.

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