The Chatter

Ten Local Causes to Support on Giving Tuesday

Consider helping these organizations working in overdrive during the COVID-19 crisis.

Traditionally, Giving Tuesday—the global day of outreach that supports those in need throughout the holiday season—falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. But this year, organizers have launched an offshoot initiative on May 5, dubbed “Giving Tuesday Now,” as an emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Whether organizing food drives for those out of work, chalking messages of positivity on city sidewalks, or performing socially distanced concerts for residents of senior communities, locals have come up with plenty of ways, big and small, to give back to their neighbors in need. And those projects will continue to set the stage for even more acts of kindness on Giving Tuesday.

If you’re able to donate, every little bit helps. But there are also non-financial ways to lend a hand, including writing a positive review of a small business, reaching out to a loved one, or safely volunteering to help distribute food and supplies. However you plan to pitch in, here are a few of the many local organizations—spanning from healthcare and small businesses to education and the arts—that could use a boost in the midst of the pandemic.

29th Street Community Center: Celebrating its six-year anniversary this month, this hub for community engagement has served more than 1,500 residents in the Barclay-Greenmount East neighborhoods. Programming for all ages, which has shifted virtually since stay-at-home orders went into effect, includes adult learning, youth employment resources, and community wealth building. Consider donating funds or checking out the center’s Amazon wish list if you’re able to give.

The American Red Cross Greater Chesapeake Region: In the face of the public health emergency, The Red Cross has been carrying out its humanitarian work all over the world. And locally, donations will support initiatives such as food distribution and blood drives for those who need it most. There are also many volunteer opportunities, both safely distanced and remote, for anyone hoping to get involved.

Back on My Feet Baltimore: The local arm of this national organization pairs members experiencing homelessness with volunteers for early-morning workouts, which then lead to education, employment, and housing opportunities. Though pairs aren’t able to run together for the foreseeable future, virtual check-ins and job programs have allowed the community to connect and provide resources during this difficult time. Find out more about how to give, volunteer, or fundraise here.

Baltimore Child Abuse Center: Although sheltering in place is the best thing we can all do to flatten the curve, the current environment is putting many vulnerable children and adults at risk of abuse and maltreatment. Additionally, the BCAC reports that at least 20 percent of abuse cases are not being reported because students aren’t at school. To support the center’s work to provide community resources and protect families in need, consider making a donation or purchasing a gift from its Amazon wish list.

Baltimore Hunger Project: The Baltimore Hunger Project has majorly amped up its efforts to feed students throughout the city and county who are now learning from home. Volunteers have been hard at work stocking the BHP warehouse (donations of ready-to-eat canned goods, granola bars, and other snacks are welcomed), organizing deliveries, and collecting notes of encouragement to distribute along with the food. A donation of $25 can nourish one child for an entire month.

Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund: Among the most hard-hit sectors has been the hospitality industry, which has laid off thousands of chefs, servers, bartenders, baristas, and other front- and back-of-house workers since dining rooms were shut down in March. The Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund has been aiding the industry with unemployment resources, relief proposals, and direct links to food distribution since day one. On Giving Tuesday, Samuel Adams and Dogfish Head Brewing will be matching donations dollar for dollar, and organizers are asking 1,000 backers to donate $5 in an attempt to reach their single-day goal of $10,000. Donations will be returned to Baltimore’s hospitality community in the form of micro-grants for workers and owners. Be sure to also check out the Baltimore Virtual Tip Jar if there’s a specific restaurant worker you’d like to make smile.

Howard County Autism Society: This Maryland nonprofit works tirelessly to educate the public about the complexities of autism. In the face of COVID-19, that mission has materialized in the form of emergency grants for families in need, special education resources to help navigate the challenges of online learning, and virtual family support. The HoCo Autism Giving Challenge has set a goal of raising $5,555 throughout the day, which will serve individuals with autism and their families in the Howard County area during the crisis.

Iron Crow Theatre: Like many other local performance venues, this nonprofit theater—dedicated to amplifying voices of the LGBTQ community—was forced to cancel its season due to the outbreak. In order to pay all of its artists in full, the theater has dipped into savings that were originally reserved for its reopening. To help restore the reallocated funds, supporters can donate here.

Komen Maryland: According to the local chapter of the world’s largest breast cancer organization, certain therapies can cause immune systems to be compromised both during and long after treatment ends. For this reason, Komen Maryland has established a COVID-19 Action Fund to help protect local patients and survivors. You can donate here.

SECU MD Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund: Last month, SECU credit union established a special fund committing up to $200,000 in hardship grants to ease the financial burden on members who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. At this point, SECU has matched donations dollar for dollar and raised more than $43,000. As part of Giving Tuesday, the union will now double the contributions to offer more than 200 relief grants to its members.

Scroll through even more local organizations to support here.