December 1, 2015 4:00 pm
Updated: December 1, 2015 6:56 pm

Saskatoon charities welcome the giving season

WATCH ABOVE: Tired of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Well, get on board with GivingTuesday, an effort aimed at combating the commercialism of the season. Ryan Kessler finds out why some local organizations have joined the movement.

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SASKATOON – Instead of gifting another box to unwrap, local non-profits hope people will give donations and volunteer hours to celebrate “GivingTuesday.” In its third year, the charitable campaign is a response to the door-crashing deals of Black Friday and the online sales of Cyber Monday.

The Saskatoon Wildlife Federation celebrated the day by driving a truckload of deer meat to the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. The latest gift of high-protein, additive-free meat brings the federation’s donation total to more than 500 pounds in 2015.

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“To have our members be able to go out, enjoy the great outdoors and harvest some animals, and then donate some back and help somebody, that’s what it’s all about from our perspective,” said Saskatoon Wildlife Federation president Robert Freberg.

Deborah Hamp, director of operations at the Saskatoon Food Bank, stressed the growing need for donations with 18,000 people visiting the location per month.

“Especially during this time of year, we love to have a really good, pure source of nutrition for our community members to enjoy,” Hamp said.

The food bank is one of nearly 4,000 Canadian groups registered to participate in GivingTuesday, which began in the United States in 2012. Last year, about 3,300 organizations took part in Canada. People have been spreading the word by using #GivingTuesdayCA on Twitter.

CanadaHelps, an organization that encourages charitable giving across the country, estimates more than one-third of Canadians make their donations in December.

“I think it’s a bit of a re-focus on what the holiday season is all about and what’s meaningful, in terms of giving and receiving this time of year,” said Myra Potter, interim CEO of the United Way of Saskatoon.

Tuesday also marked the start of the United Way’s online gift catalogue, where users can donate to a local charity in someone’s name, rather than offering a conventional gift under the tree.

READ MORE: Saskatoon residents aren’t buying into Black Friday, Cyber Monday

“Lots of us struggle with what to buy for that particular person who has everything. Well, here’s a real neat idea to let them know you’re thinking of them and you’ve made a gift in their honour,” Potter said.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan has a similar gift guide, where people can put money towards toys, supplies and services for the hospital scheduled to open in 2019.

In 2013, 82 per cent of Canadians made charitable donations, according to Statistics Canada. Donations that year equalled $12.8 billion.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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