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Giving Tuesday Now: A May spinoff of a holiday tradition in Clark County, globally

Some local charities are taking part in a day of philanthropy that may sound familiar.

Giving Tuesday Now is a spinoff of Giving Tuesday, which normally falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to encourage charitable giving after a weekend of holiday shopping.

Giving Tuesday Now — happening this Tuesday — is described as “a new global day of giving and unity” and “an emergency response to the unprecedented needs caused by COVID-19.”

“The whole push of Giving Tuesday Now is small acts of kindness and good will,” said Jean LaCrosse, donor relations officer at Open House Ministries, which is promoting Giving Tuesday Now. “It’s very positive and global.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the faith-based homeless service provider closed its thrift store and bicycle repair shop and is working with a skeleton crew of staff. Its usual classes and programs for residents have been scaled back, too.

“We’re just trying to be safe like everyone else,” LaCrosse said. “It’ll be nice when this is behind us.”

Open House Ministries has received a lot of support during the pandemic, LaCrosse said. Arts advocacy organization Artstra donated art supplies for families staying in the shelter to do projects. The Smokin’ Oak dropped off food for residents, and the shelter also collected face masks that it dispersed to partner agencies.

LaCrosse said that on Tuesday people are encouraged to give however they can, whether that’s with donations or small acts of kindness.

“It gives everybody a focus that’s a positive one,” she said.

Other nonprofit groups, such as Journey Theater and the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, are seeking donations Tuesday. Council for the Homeless is trying to raise $3,000 by Tuesday to get a matching fund for its emergency response fund.

Furry Friends aims to raise $7,500 for cats staying at its halfway house. The all-volunteer organization has been quickly adopting out cats since other local shelters have halted adoptions.

“It’s been good for us in that way,” Executive Director Diane Stevens said.

She worries that with the economic downturn, the organization won’t receive enough donations to make budget. Furry Friends usually holds an auction in September, but it’s unclear if that will happen. The organization is currently holding an online auction.

With many of the cats adopted out, Furry Friends is focusing on its harder-to-place felines such as a cat with hyperthyroidism that requires daily medicine and a cat with asthma.

“When we take a cat in we commit to them,” Stevens said.


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