Following a weekend of late-night deals and Monday’s online discounts, a new initiative is trending — giving back.
Giving Tuesday is a global movement intended to counter the consumerism encouraged through Black Friday and Cyber Monday and instead to inspire people to give back, according to the movement’s website. This year, both Operation Catnip and Helping Hands Rescue are participating.
The local organizations partnered up to transform how people think, talk and feel about #GivingTuesday, said Kristie Herniman, vice president of Helping Hands Rescue. Both organizations are not-for-profit and rely on donations of time, money and supplies to operate.
Organizations began accepting donations online at 12:01 a.m. at www.givingtuesday.org and will continue until midnight.
For those who choose to donate, Herniman said Network for Good will match all pledges, which means even a $10 donation can become $20. Network for Good will donate up to $125,000 in matching funds, she said.
“We will throw everything — even the kitchen sink — to help save the pets to keep them healthy and keep them alive,” Herniman said.
She said the rescue organization aims to replenish medical funds already spent with the donations received — like the $4,500 spent to save a puppy named Boe recently — and also aim to create a safety net for unexpected emergencies like Boe’s.
“We will always, always make the choice to take care of the pet instead of euthanizing it,” she said.
UF public relations senior Isabella Elsheikh said she recently adopted a cat from Gainesville Pet Rescue and she supports local rescue organizations using Giving Tuesday to raise more funds.
“I think it was smart to incorporate the giving hashtag right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” the 21-year-old said. “People are still out shopping, and if they are aware of this trend they could be more likely to adopt or donate.”
Twitter played a large role in spreading the word about #GivingTuesday, Herniman said. She sent out tweets for about a month and a half leading up to the event, including tweeting back and forth with Operation Catnip to raise awareness.
Following the #GivingTuesday initiative, Herniman said the organization is hosting a series of pet adoptions this weekend at the PetSmart located on Southwest Archer Road.
Gigi’s Playhouse Gainesville is also participating in the initiative and will accept donations through the same website.
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 12/2/2014]