When the holiday decorations are put away and people return to normal schedules of work and school, the concept of giving back can feel like it gets packed away until next year, too.
There’s no doubt the holidays are a season of charity, but as we go back to our regular day-to-day responsibilities, charity is one thing that should continue to be on our minds.
Donation amounts increase by about 42 percent during November and December compared to the rest of the year, according to Causes.com, the largest online platform for social activism.
Online donations increased 50 percent on Giving Tuesday in 2017, a day dedicated to encourage giving, created by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural center based in New York City. Giving Tuesday has been following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday since 2012, according to the Giving Tuesday website.
A survey conducted by GuideStar, an organization that gathers information about all IRS-registered nonprofit organizations, showed about half of the organizations surveyed said they received a majority of their contributions between October and December.
The sharp decline of charitable giving in months other than October through December caught the attention of State Farm, a nation-wide auto insurance company, and they produced a commercial showing the extreme difference in atmosphere in a soup kitchen during the holidays and after. The video shows children running around and Christmas decorations hung while people exchange food and conversation, but the scene changes to a stark room, almost empty, with bare plates once the new year passes. The commercial ends with the message, “The season of giving ends, but the need remains.”
State Farm ran this commercial beginning in December 2017 as part of its Neighborhood of Good platform, launched in March, which connects its customers to charitable opportunities specific to their own hometowns.
Loyola, as a Jesuit institution, honors social responsibility and justice and prides itself on its commitment to aiding the less fortunate. Many of you reading this attend Loyola, which should encourage you to be a part of this commitment. Loyola offers many easy ways to fulfill it both on and off campus.
Loyola is hosting a non-profit opportunities fair Jan. 23 where a number of community partners will be present to provide information and answer questions. The fair will be in the Damen Student Center from 1-4 p.m.
A number of civic engagement opportunities are offered during Loyola’s MLK Service Day, taking place on Jan. 26. Loyola is partnering with organizations near both campuses for a day to reflect the beliefs in service of Martin Luther King Jr.
Through Loyola’s Campus Ministry department, you can volunteer at St. Thomas of Canterbury soup kitchen. Groups of students travel together from the Lake Shore Campus every Tuesday and Friday at 3:40 p.m.
Loyola4Chicago is an organization for undergraduate students to volunteer in many different areas in the city including doing weekly tutoring sessions, assisting second-language adult immigrants and working with the homeless.
Labre Ministry provides food, conversation and friendship to homeless in the downtown Chicago area. A group led by students leaves together every Thursday from the Water Tower Campus.
The Honeycomb Project, founded by two Chicago moms, works with more than 45 organizations for family volunteering at places including animal shelters, children’s hospitals and nature centers.
If you’re homesick and missing family members such as grandparents, Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly Chicago Chapter is a way you can give back and spend some quality time with an older companion. You can volunteer to deliver monthly food bags or get paired with an elderly person for regular bi-monthly visits.
People may feel like they’ve done enough or done their part for charity when the holidays are over, but just because the giving season may be over, the need for giving never goes away.
Causes.com released a survey that showed 85 percent of Americans donated to a charitable organization during the holidays, and 34 percent are more likely to make contributions compared to the rest of the year.
The Phoenix is calling on you to keep pushing and giving back as we head further into 2018 by donating money or useful items to those less fortunate, and if you don’t have anything to spare, we encourage you to volunteer your time to those in need.
Volunteering even a short amount of time can help. We plan to do the same and hold ourselves to it.