Making holiday giving count on “Giving Tuesday”

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By: Mary Kuhlman/Michigan News Service

LANSING, Mich. – While thinking about giving to those we love during the holidays, Michiana residents can also consider giving back to the less fortunate in their communities.

This Tuesday is Giving Tuesday, which Angella Thompson, vice president of retail operations, marketing and mission integration for Goodwill Industries of Mid-Michigan, says is an opportunity to help others before the holiday season gets too busy.

“Within Michigan there’s any numerous ways that you can make an impact on people during the holiday season,” she stresses. “Whether it’s a cash donation to a charity that tugs at your heartstring or the any number of organizations that accept used goods.”

Before you write a check or load up a box to make donations, Thompson explains that it is very important to do your homework because there are groups that may have a name similar to a popular cause or charity, but are not actually legitimate.

She suggests checking the web site guidestar.org or

charitynavigator.org for charity research.

Thompson says clothing donations are always greatly needed. Some charities will give coats, hats and other items directly to people, and others set up retail discount stores.

Either way, Thompson has some advice for choosing what to give.

“When possible make it appropriate for the season that you’re in,” she says. “And then I always suggest people donate to an organization things that they would give to a friend – things that are in good repair and can be used by the organization that you are donating them to.”

And with the close of the tax year rapidly approaching, Thompson reminds Michiganders to collect all donation receipts. And she adds there are things to know in order to claim an item as a charitable contribution.

“Household goods that are given to a charity do need to be in good or better condition in order for folks to claim them,” she says. “Another note – if you’re donating an item that has a value of $500 or more get an independent appraisal for the item to keep with your donation receipt.”

An easy way to give back to the community, in South Bend and Mishawaka is to take part in the Salvation Army Red Kettle Ring-Off.

For the third year, Mishawaka and South Bend are competing in the Red Kettle Ring-Off.

Mishawaka is undefeated in this competition which aims to support both cities and families in St. Joseph County by raising money through red kettle donations, according to our reporting partners at ABC 57.

To help your city win, text South Bend or Mishawaka to 41444.

The Salvation Army helps nearly 30 million Americans each year.