BANGOR, Maine — After Thanksgiving comes Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

The following week begins with Cyber Monday and then there's the littler known holiday, Giving Tuesday, a day when charities around the country and the globe ask folks to think of people in need during the busy holiday shopping season.

A few nonprofit organizations in the Bangor area are already in the giving spirit though and have been for days.

"A gift of any size can make an impact," said Caroline King, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Northern and Eastern Maine.

Donations come monetarily, in the form of blood, and volunteerism.

The American Red Cross relies on donations year-round though and not just on Giving Tuesday.

"Giving Tuesday gives us a great platform to remind folks," said King, of all of the times the Red Cross is there before folks even know they need the help.

"In the middle of the night when you least expect it and you're standing in your front yard in your pajamas the Red Cross will be there when your house is on fire," added King.

She said Giving Tuesday is just a regular Tuesday for an organization like the Red Cross, which is open every day of the year.

"It's a great opportunity for folks to pay attention to the needs in their very own community," said King.

COESPACE kicked off Giving Tuesday early on Sunday with a holiday photo booth benefiting the Bangor Area Recovery Network in Brewer.

COESPACE holiday photo booth event
Michael Hallahan
COESPACE holiday photo booth
Michael Hallahan

Also early to the Giving Tuesday effort, the Christine B. Foundation, which aims to support people affected by cancer in eastern Maine.

"Cancer is the leading cause of death in the state of Maine," said Matt Dexter, Founder and Executive Director of the Christine B. Foundation. 

In its 5th year, the non-profit organization offers free services to cancer patients including transportation, nutrition assistance, and personalized support options.

Ahead of Giving Tuesday, Dexter is running a "72 in 72" campaign.

In its 3rd year, the campaign's goal aims for 72 donations in the 72 hours leading up to Giving Tuesday.

"We are really challenging our community to help us with our mission," said Dexter.

As of Monday afternoon, the campaign was about a quarter of the way to its goal with $1,000 raised.

Dexter said these funds will go towards bringing a new home meal delivery program to cancer patients across the state.

"Many people living with cancer and being treated for cancer in eastern Maine have to travel over 100 miles to receive care and sometimes that's up to 5 times a week," added Dexter.

Both Dexter and King agree, the donation itself matters more than the amount.

"Five dollars buys a blanket," said King. "Fifteen dollars helps us install a free smoke alarm. Bigger gifts, of course, help us go and do that work all the time."

As folks continue checking off boxes on their holiday lists in the weeks to come, these organizations and many others hope to hear from you to help make their work possible to do.

"We look forward to hearing from our friends and neighbors because that makes our work possible."

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