Is "Giving Tuesday" catching on across the Carolinas?

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday now behind us, the emphasis today is on Giving Tuesday.  The idea is to help the less fortunate by making a donation to agencies and efforts that help those in need.

But how does it compare to Black Friday?  And is it really helping?

We use social media so much now to judge if something is hot, or trending, and according to Twitter, the highest trending hashtag in the Charlotte area right now is #GivingTuesday.

But does that mean people are giving, or just tweeting about it?

At the Rufty Holmes Senior Center in Salisbury,  Director Rick Eldridge used social media to promote giving, and he says it has led to contributions today.

"A lot of people like to donate to charity towards the end of the calendar year, we thought this was a good ting to sort of piggyback on to remind people that we do accept contributions throughout the year," Eldridge told WBTV.  "This year people seem to be paying attention to it and responding to it."

It's much the same story over at Rowan Helping Ministries where donations help feed the hungry, provide clothes and groceries, and pay the rent for those in need.

"We have seen an uptick in the number of people who are giving online<" RHM Director Kyna Grubb told WBTV, adding that donations to RHM help in very specific ways.

"They help feed the hungry, they help pay utility bills, help keep people in their homes by paying rent to keep people from being evicted, it also helps support our kitchen, and noon meal, and of course our shelter," Grubb added.

In Charlotte, Salisbury, and Roanoke, VA., grocery chain Food Lion is playing a major role for the first time for Giving Tuesday.

"Just today through Giving Tuesday we're providing more than 112,000 meals throughout Va and NC, and through Rowan Helping Ministries we gave out 150 gift cards of $25 each that they can just hand out to people in need," said Tara Robertson of Food Lion.  "Because it was our first year we were just trying this out to see if we can expand it next year."

Food Lion's emphasis is also tied to its "Food Lion Feeds" campaign that debuted earlier this year. Company officials say it has provided 40 million meals across the geographic area served by Food Lion.

Nationally, organizers say 20,000 non-profits have partnered with #GivingTuesday.  That's up from 2500 partners two years ago.

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