All of the spending on material gifts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday gave life to Giving Tuesday a few years ago, making an annual reminder to give to local organizations that work to improve lives year-round.
The Red Cross has seen one of its busiest years ever and is now hoping the community will think of them during this season of giving.
Severe weather led the way for disaster response in 2021 including floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. The Red Cross says they launched teams every 11 days for major support missions.
There are also human-caused disasters like house fires. In all of 2021, there have been more than 800 disasters in Arizona and more than a thousand families in the state received help.
Ninety percent of the organization is made up of volunteers and they are not a federal agency, so funds are donation-based.
Donor money helps cover shelter, food, and counseling, sometimes for thousands of victims at a time.
"One disaster we deployed 3,000 volunteers, we gave out a million meals and snacks, and had 44,000 overnight stays in our shelter, and we're finding people are staying in our shelters longer. The average is a month. So, it's been an incredibly busy year," said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of Red Cross America.
The Red Cross is also heading into the holidays with its lowest blood supply in a decade, largely because the pandemic kept private donors away and schools and businesses haven't held as many blood drives as usual. If money is tight, rolling up your sleeves and donating blood will make a major difference.
Donating your time is also a great option to help those in need.
You can find donation locations, learn how to host a blood bank, find volunteer opportunities, or donate cash on the Red Cross website. Plus, if you donate on Giving Tuesday, the Coca-Cola Company is matching gifts dollar for dollar up to $250,000.