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Giving Tuesday: Take time to make a difference

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Many people spend time during the holidays giving to others. The spirit of Christmas is about giving and sharing with family, friends and those who are less fortunate.

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Giving Tuesday is a national and global day of giving to counter the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday offers the opportunity for families, charities, individuals and businesses to work together in the true spirit of Christmas.

On the Giving Tuesday Facebook page, you will find information about how many organizations will help those in need with blood drives, community events and dollar-for-dollar matches for money donated.

Participants are invited to post a photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using hashtags #GivingTuesday and #unselfie to counter the focus on self that is seen on a daily basis.

The ways to give are as numerous as the charitable organizations in your community, state, country and around the world.

The American Cancer Society, Catholic Relief Services, Disabled American Veterans, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Salvation Army are just a few of the charities you'll find listed on the Charity Watch website.

You will find Salvation Army kettles outside many stores during the month of December. Many stores are also displaying giving trees with names and gift ideas for the less fortunate in the community.

Drop some money in the kettle, choose a name from a local giving tree and pick up extra food items to donate to a local food bank on Giving Tuesday.

Make your charitable donation go further by searching for organizations who offer matching donations on Giving Tuesday. In Central Virginia, the Society of St. Andrew is offering dollar-for-dollar donations on Giving Tuesday.

Many charities have created Facebook events for Giving Tuesday. Choose a charity and send a check or donate online. By participating in Giving Tuesday, you are sharing the spirit of Christmas with those in need.

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