Giving day spurs us to think of others

Dave Bergmeier

On Dec. 1, many organizations offered opportunities for people to take advantage of GivingTuesday.

The concept started in New York City in 2012 at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, according to The concept turned into an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.

“Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of that we have to those who need our help, every active generosity counts and everyone has something to give.”

For farmers and ranchers and organizations that serve them, GivingTuesday has a history that includes decades of giving.

Traditional youth programs like 4-H have long promoted the concept of service before self, including food drives to refill local food pantries. High Plains Journal is in the midst of a fundraising project in which we will donate 25% of your subscription rate to 4-H. Recent profiles included Drachen Koester, who bridged one of his projects to help 17 additional teens so they can learn more about bees, and Reagan Stephens, who started a “Ride with Reagan” program that uses horses to boost the confidence of students.

FFA chapters have long been at the forefront of helping build community parks in small towns and helping with cleanup days in blighted areas of urban areas. Farmers and ranchers and those with rural roots have championed faith-based causes to help not only their neighbors but also those around the world.

These mentions are not designed to be critical of GivingTuesday. Instead GivingTuesday was rightfully pointing to a signature day in which people of any age and regardless of income can feel proud they took a pause and thought of others in their own community. This year, more than any other, is recognized as a stressor that will linger and its impact will be felt for a long time.

The COVID-19 pain will not go away for many Americans. In rural areas, farm folk are often reluctant to let their families, neighbors, counselors or pastors know they are feeling financial or emotional struggles that were inconceivable merely a year ago. As good neighbors we need to watch out for those who might be silently calling out for help.

Let GivingTuesday be an example as a reminder that giving back is not always tied to financial contributions, but the spirit that moves people to reach out and help others.

Theologian and reformer Martin Luther wrote that “God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.” Those of us who live in the High Plains understand the concept and yet even in our day-to-day vocations it can take a backseat to other issues of the day.

Hopefully the spirit of GivingTuesday can linger awhile as we grind on and look forward to 2021.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].