Giving Tuesday Now shines spotlight on need for nonprofits

5/4/2020, 10:14 p.m.
Forced isolation, people out of work and many businesses having to close their doors due to a failing economy all ...

Forced isolation, people out of work and many businesses having to close their doors due to a failing economy all adds up to a tough time for nonprofit organizations.

Just like for profit businesses, many non-profits are struggling during this coronavirus crisis. Getting people and organizations to donate when they are trying to keep their own businesses and families afloat is a tall order.

“The pandemic has had a major impact on the non-profit sector; and during times of need, it is largely the non-profit sector that so many turn to for support; we are the helping professionals,” Sarah Oprzedek, Vice President, Operations & Development for United Way of Will County, said.

“So when donations decline, when volunteers are no longer able to volunteer, it only diminishes our ability to help and serve those in need. And right now, the number of community members in need is growing exponentially each and every day.”

Non-profits - and there are a number of them in Will County - are the very organizations that can do the most to help people suffering during an economic downturn. Food pantries can provide the necessary sustenance necessary when the cupboards go bare and other non-profits can provide rental assistance to keep people in their homes or apartments when they are out of work.

Whether it be volunteering, donating food or clothing or helping out monetarily, there are myriad ways people can help others in need. Like the saying goes, there is no time like the present. While the annual Giving Tuesday is still scheduled for Dec. 1 of this year, Giving Tuesday Now, a response to the coronavirus pandemic, is May 5. The website now.giving.tuesday.org features more information about the added day of giving.

Organizers of the movement said they “believe that generosity has the power to unite and heal communities in good times and bad. A global threat like COVID-19 touches every person on the planet, and it presents an opportunity to come together as a global community.” That’s from an article on the site labeled “Mobilizing the World Through Giving.”

One doesn’t have to look for to find a way to help out in Joliet and the surrounding suburbs.

“The Salvation Army in Joliet, and throughout the country, is able to serve so many people because of the generosity of others,” said Jackie Rachev, director of communications for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division in Chicago.

“Throughout the year, donations support the food pantry, emergency assistance for rent or utility assistance, after-school programming, camps, Christmas assistance and more. Donations during this Giving Tuesday event will be used to help the increased need in Joliet due to the coronavirus.”

The Salvation Army’s needs have skyrocketed as a result of the pandemic. “We have seen approximately a 500 percent increase in request for support during this pandemic, which means we're helping more people than ever - people who were already living paycheck to paycheck and worrying where their next meal was coming from as well as people who have never asked for assistance,” Rachel added. This extra Giving Tuesday event means we can help those in need now, and in the future when the economic impact becomes more clear.”