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Tuesday is usually a fairly unremarkable day of the week. But this Tuesday is different.
Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as Giving Tuesday. It’s a day centered around giving, rather than shopping, with an emphasis on supporting nonprofits and the work they do in communities across the state and the country.
According to the nonprofit Giving Tuesday, Inc. that leads the initiative, nearly $2.5 billion was donated to nonprofits last year. Not bad for a Tuesday.
It’s a great message, and a great opportunity for those with the means to help the helpers. The last two years of pandemic life have caused a lot of hardship for a lot of people, and individuals and organizations have stepped up to help. Giving Tuesday is a chance to buoy those efforts and sustain them moving forward. Though it’s not the only chance — this kind of giving is needed and appreciated throughout the year.
There is no shortage of charities, food banks, libraries, community action organizations and other groups doing important work every day to help keep our fellow Mainers fed, housed and connected to various services and supports. The global supply chain has caused a lot of problems, but it hasn’t depleted one of Maine’s most valuable resources: the way we look out for each other.
We hope that Giving Tuesday has Mainers thinking about what they’re capable of giving, both in money and time, and directing those toward causes and people they care about. And we hope that spirit of generosity isn’t limited to just one day of the week.
While we’re on the subject of individual giving, we can’t help but think of an ongoing example of how our country could collectively be giving more. Giving Tuesday might be focused on supporting nonprofits, but it also falls this year at a time when the U.S. and other wealthy countries (and the manufacturers therein) need to be giving more COVID-19 vaccine resources to the rest of the world.
The emergence of the omicron variant in South Africa has reemphasized what many experts have been saying for a while: failure to help the rest of the world vaccinate its people will allow variants to develop, and those variants could eventually make their way here.
“With this level of vaccine inequality, variants like omicron are completely predictable,” Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative at Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute, said last week according to Tribune News Service.
But staggering vaccination gaps persist, and the developed world has so far delivered only a small fraction of what it has promised. Pledges clearly aren’t enough. Other world leaders should follow President Joe Biden in joining the call for intellectual property protections to be waived for COVID vaccines (especially when vaccines have been developed with the help of taxpayer dollars). And this call should be turned into action, both in the U.S. and around the world, so developing countries can move toward producing these vaccines rather than relying on the ebb and flow of the developed world’s generosity.
Giving can often be its own reward, on any day of the week. It feels good to help other people. Doing more to help other countries access and administer vaccines wouldn’t purely be altruism. There is a clear benefit for the giver in this case, too. It’s not just about helping other countries and feeling good about that — this can also help protect Americans and the American economy.