Big Mama Blog

Giving Tuesday

So I read somewhere that today is Giving Tuesday. I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not, but I’m going to go with it because it makes me feel better about living in a world where people fight each other in the aisles of Walmart for the last flat screen T.V.

Fa la la la la – la la la la

And if there’s such a thing as Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Smallpox Saturday, then there should absolutely be a Giving Tuesday.

(I just made up Smallpox Saturday. I have no idea what that would actually entail but feel free to explore the idea further.)

Over the last few years we’ve reached the point in our family where we buy the kids presents and then make donations to various charities for the adults. I like this. It’s a way to give back at Christmas and considering that I am constantly cleaning out cabinets and closets in an attempt to have less stuff, I would so much rather spend money somewhere that can make a difference.

So in case this is something you do or might want to do this year, I thought I’d share three different organizations that I know are putting their resources to good use to help vulnerable children all over the world. I realize there are many other great charities and ways to give available, but these are a few that I happen to know about from the inside out.

1. Justice and Mercy International

My dear friends, Mary Katherine and Kelly Minter, are deeply involved with this organization. I have been so moved by their stories of traveling through the Amazon and seeing lives of children being changed.

Justice and Mercy International exists to mobilize the church to help the poor and the orphaned. They use their resources to provide services to rescue those who are often forgotten and vulnerable to dangers like human trafficking, diseases and extreme poverty.

JMI is currently working in Moldova, the Amazon, Haiti and South Africa. There are child sponsorships available, but they also would love any one-time donations.

2. Compassion International

Compassion International partners with local churches all over the world to help children living in extreme poverty. I’ve had the chance to travel with them to two different countries and have seen first hand the difference this ministry makes in these children’s lives.

You can sponsor a child for $38 a month, make a one-time donation to help the children in the Phillipines affected by the typhoon, or choose something to give from the Compassion gift catalog.

3. Arise Africa

My friend Alissa started Arise Africa several years ago after visiting Zambia. Since that time they have built an orphanage, developed a child sponsorship program and are actively working to make life better for these children and equip them for the future.

There are child sponsorships available or you can make a one-time donation through a gift from their Christmas catalog or their general fund.

Giving to any of these organizations would be a great gift for the people in your life who already have everything they need.

On Sunday night we read the first passage in our copy of Ann Voskamp’s advent book The Greatest Gift and these words have stayed with me:

“The theology of the Tree, of the Cross, always seeks the presence of God in the belittled gifts of the world. The small Babe of Bethlehem, the dismissed Son of God, the stripped and beaten Messiah hanging exposed on the Tree – He begs us to spend the attention of Advent on the little, the least, the lonely, the lost.”

So, yes, I’m a fan of Giving Tuesday. Because that’s where we find Him. Among the little, the least, the lonely and the lost.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


  1. 1

    YES!!! There absolutely is a #GivingTuesday today and thanks for sharing the word!! We need a day like this to help us remember the big picture: that most of us are so, so blessed. My charity, Hope Springs Water, is a partner. We go into underdeveloped countries where there is no access to safe water and dig wells and teach sanitation and hygiene. We have wells in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and the Sierra Leone. Although we are not a religious charity, we go forth with the firm belief that God directs and graces our path and empowers us to do this work in His name! We hope to raise $5,000 today to fund a new well. Please go to to learn more about us and make a gift if so moved. #GivingTuesday

  2. 2

    I too give gifts to charity in the name of adults in my life who are in need of less stuff and fewer things, not more. I love that you are advocating for this as well. I must do a blog post about this very idea. Thank you for the reminder kick !~!

  3. 3

    Melanie – I hope you don’t mind if I add something to your most excellent post: A list of (some) sources for checking out HOW your donation to a given charity is used. Personally, I’d rather the largest proportion of my donation go directly towards the people it’s intended to reach, not to admin pay and/or administrative costs, etc. Knowing the financial details of an organization –particularly the larger ones– helps me make wiser decisions, I feel. Over the years, I’ve found the information the independent “charity check” sites provide, to be an invaluable tool. thanks, beth.

    Charity Navigator; A Guide To Intelligent Giving —
    Great Nonprofits —
    GuideStar —

  4. 5

    Amen, sister!! I love this concept. Thank you for reminding me of what is most important!

  5. 6

    Saturday is Small Business Saturday. The idea is after visiting all the big box stores on Friday go and spend some cash at a locally owned business in your community.

  6. 7

    What a lovely idea! Thanks so much for sharing places you have first hand knowledge about – it can be so hard to research to make sure your money is being well-spent.

  7. 8

    Excellent idea! My family has given donation gifts to charities instead of gifts to adult family for a few years and I personally love doing this! We’ve been so blessed and it definitely centers Christmas on GIVING instead of getting. Thanks for spreading the word (and the Word).

  8. 9

    Thank you for sharing this.

  9. 10

    Amen! My church’s Advent theme this year is “Giving Christmas Away.” What other way can we interpret the true meaning of Jesus’ birth?

  10. 11

    giving Tuesday IS real, and I love the idea! After we’ve spent 3 days knocking each other over, it’s time to calm down and look around – see the need on the planet. There are so many people to help. All good orgs., the ones you listed. On my facebook page, for the month of Dec., I’m posting one idea a day….some simple thing to do to help us remember others. Check it out, if you’d like:
    Enjoy your blog!

  11. 12

    Great Post!

  12. 13

    Angel tree gifts…….adopt a Salvation Army Family

  13. 14

    There is an “official” Saturday thing — Small Business Saturday! It’s a reminder to shop at smaller, locally-owned businesses, not just the big retailers. :)

  14. 15

    Love it. So last year we changed Christmas. We only gave gifts from fair trade organizations (10,000 Villages in the Pearl is an amazing fair trade store!) or something we have and knew the other person really liked and wanted, or something we made. We then used the money we would have spent but didn’t due to all the homemade/regifting and we collected/bought personal hygiene items and made bags with gospel tracts in them and passed them out at the Church Under the Bridge. It was awesome. It was honestly the first time Christmas felt like Christmas to me. We always say it’s about giving but it felt more like a line as I scrambled my way through Gap looking for something so I could check one more name off my list. This year I’ve used a lot of those sites from the Jen Hatmaker blog you posted a while back for so many of our gifts and I’m so grateful for that resource. I love knowing that the gifts I give this Christmas benefit the recipient but also the ones from whom I purchased them. A double blessing for me and for them.

  15. 16

    Well spoken. We have adopted several angels this year instead of spending needlessly on one another. It has been so rewarding. We chose to sponsor a child from Compassion a couple of weeks ago. We pray and love her and don’t even know her. Gods love is great and even greater to share this hope with a small child in Bolivia.

  16. 17

    My sister passed away in 2003, and that first Christmas was difficult on many levels. But there was one I didn’t expect, and that was seeing things in stores and knowing she would have liked it. So, that year, I started donating money to a charity she liked, the local animal shelter. That way, I feel like I’m still giving her a gift.

  17. 18

    Wine to Water is an awesome organization as well. Doc Hendley was our neighbor when he was in high school.