'Giving Tuesday' Puts the Heart Back in the Holidays

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The turkey was barely cold on the table when millions of Americans transitioned into full-blown shopping mode.

They scrambled to snatch up deals on Black Friday and then shop by the droves online during Cyber Monday.

Now there's a new day: Giving Tuesday. The goal is simple; after four days of holiday shopping, the day encourages people to give back.

The Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is one of nearly 2,000 organizations around the country challenging Americans to take part.

"Giving Tuesday is intended to open the holiday season on a philanthropic note and put heart back into the holidays," said Sarah Renusch, director of World Vision's Gift Catalog, in a news release.

"World Vision knows not everyone is able to take off work to physically volunteer, but we still are encouraging volunteers to give virtually by donating food, clothing, and a number of life-changing gifts online through World Vision," she said.

This week, if you give food, clothing, or school supplies to children in the United States through World Vision's Gift Catalog, they will be designated for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.

Giving Tuesday is greatly needed. A new World Vision Holiday Giving Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, shows fewer Americans plan to give a charitable gift as a holiday present this year.

Last year, 51 percent of U.S. adults said as a result of the current economic climate, they'd be "more likely" to give a charitable gift as a holiday present.

This year, it's down to 45 percent.

"World Vision is encouraged that our economy seems to be showing signs of improvement," Renusch said. "Yet it is troubling to learn that shoppers aren't planning to be as charitable as they've been in years past."

"To us, that means we could see a significant drop in the number of families and children being helped this year who truly do need assistance," she said.

World Vision said some of the ways you can participate in Giving Tuesday is to volunteer virtually, give a meaningful gift, and teach generosity.

To learn more about Giving Tuesday, click here.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.