Tis the season for compassion toward those who have less. During these weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year, we remind ourselves of the importance of generosity – a message that’s especially pronounced today on Giving Tuesday.
News coverage of people aided by holiday charitable campaigns depicts them as deserving of help because they endure hardships that are beyond their capacity to fix. In the backdrop of such media exposure lies the reality that most of the year we do very little for our fellow Americans in need. Their struggles for the most part disappear from our minds in early January, not to reappear until we’re eating our Thanksgiving dinners.
As we embrace the holiday spirit of giving, let’s not forget how much this time of year departs from the norm. The federal government last month massively reduced the Food Stamp program, with additional cuts expected in the Farm Bill now being debated in Congress. These cuts are occurring at a time when the economy remains sluggish, with so many people struggling to get by. Moreover, there is widespread public contempt for the poor, as evidenced by the viral Huffington Post piece “Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense.”
So, if we are to give anything of lasting value on this Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season, it should be a gift of insight to ourselves — that Giving Hope shouldn’t just be seasonable; we need to invest in opportunity throughout the year.