How Giving Tuesday impacts the Triangle

Following the much-anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales, Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity to put those savings towards good causes.

Charities throughout the country use the day to encourage donations, many of which are accompanied with corporate or benefactor matches.

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina has a triple match all day, up to $70,000 in donations.

"Every dollar that's donated is actually going to provide 15 meals instead of just five," said Jennifer Caslin, the nonprofit's marketing and project manager.

Donors also had the option of covering the three-percent transaction fee in their online donation. Families and businesses also dropped off large donations off food throughout the day.

"A lot of us are privileged for family and things, and whatnot. There's some people out there that don't have all that," said Jen Mugnano, who works for Kone.

The company visited food pantries in North Carolina and South Carolina over the past few weeks to make those donations.

It's aimed at reducing food insecurity. People who are food insecure are more likely to suffer from several health issues; for kids, it can negatively impact their ability to focus in school.

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"Last year we distributed nearly 83 million pounds of food, which turns out to be 68 million meals. And we know there's still about a 23 million meal gap," Caslin said.

While the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit, the Wake County Animal Center does receive taxpayer funding.

Still, that doesn't reduce the importance of monetary donations.

"We had a lot of owner surrenders prior to Thanksgiving. We anticipate it again," said Dr. Jennifer Federico, the Center's Director.

They have not had to put an animal down due to space in three years, though have had spacing concerns throughout the year, leading to several public pleas for help.

Federico noted they typically see an uptick in interest when they offer deals, which they will be able to do throughout the month of December thanks to a $5,000 from the Whitley Law Firm.

"The facilities here in Wake County are amazing, but they do need help through volunteers and corporate sponsorships, and people in the community to come together to help find these animals homes," said Ben Whitley, who delivered the donation Tuesday afternoon.

Because of the donation, adoption fees for cats will be $10 (compared to $45), and for dogs $25 (compared to $95).

"Those public/private partnerships are the ones that have the most lasting effect, and the ripple effect on those relationships is even unforeseen," explained Wake County Commissioner Greg Ford.

Giving Tuesday first began in 2012, and has grown year-over-year.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction, leading the majority of people to opt for that over itemizing.

Despite some concern over a potential drop in donations, analysts expect Giving Tuesday totals this year to surpass last year's totals.
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