Giving Tuesday: Philly recognizes day to give back

cls philadelphia attorney with reunited family cls philadelphia
An image of justice from CLS’s Giving Tuesday photo project — attorney Kathleen Creamer with a reunited family. Courtesy CLS

On Tuesday, more than 100 non-profits and community organizations in Philadelphia will be participating in a new holiday, one dedicated to helping others — Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday was founded last year as the antidote to the post-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping spree — with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all drawing masses of shoppers to spend literally billions of dollars on gifts for friends and family.

“Giving Tuesday is the opposite of that,” said Rudy Flesher, coordinator for Giving Tuesday Philadelphia. “It’s bringing people back to what they’re really interested in, which is giving back to their communities.”

Philadelphia groups using the hashtag #GivingTuesdayPHL on social media are spreading the word about volunteer opportunities and charities that need help this holiday season. Most groups are asking for donations, but some are asking people to volunteer their time and help out with various projects.

Among the ideas sparked by Giving Tuesday are a Community Legal Services of Philadelphia photo project. People are asked to send in photos that depict justice or injustice, which will be included in an online album posted Tuesday.

“We were trying to include people who wanted to give back a little bit, but can’t necessarily make donations,” said CLS development associate Caitlin Brown. “I hope this project brings awareness to the cause.”

ACHIEVEability, which offers housing to single parents who are going back to college, is holding a special Giving Tuesday volunteer session during which they will rehab 20 to 30 houses.

“As a small nonprofit we could of course use funds as well, but this is a much more fun way to give, we think,” said PR consultant Evon Burton.

Valley Youth House – Greater Philadelphia, a program that assists young people aging out of the foster care system, is holding an informational session for potential volunteers. Sign-ups have already exceeded the numbers present at past meetings.

“I’m actually quite surprised with the response we’ve gotten. A lot of it has to do with Giving Tuesday,” said development officer Valerie Johnson. “It looks like people are really excited to give back in Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia was recognized by The White House blog, along with Baltimore and Bucks County, as the only municipalities in the country with an organized Giving Tuesday effort.

Opportunities to Help

Looking for a way to give back this Giving Tuesday?

-People’s Emergency Center is collecting non-perishable food donations at Rittenhouse Market, 1733 Spruce St., South Square Supermarket, 2221 South St., and at their offices, 325 N. 39th St.

-Support Center for Child Advocates is inviting volunteers to help out Dec. 3 at their Toy Drive Headquarters at 1880 JFK Blvd., 19th floor, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please bring toys to donate or just to help sort toys. Volunteer delivery and pick-up drivers also needed. Hot chocolate will be served.

-SquashSmarts, a squash program, is inviting volunteers to help out as academic tutors from 4 to 6:15 p.m. on Giving Tuesday at their Lenfest Center location, 3890 N. 10th St.

-Click here for how to send in photos of justice and injustice to Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

Follow @GivingTuesPHL on Twitter or visit to learn about other groups and charities participating in Giving Tuesday.


Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

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