Op-ed: Impact Vine — putting “thanks” and “giving” back into Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of those rare holidays where the focus is on family and friends, and not as much on buying and commercialization.

But, because it’s at the start of the holiday season, it’s so easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of activity. Hectic travel schedules and frenzied shopping can make the holidays stressful. We forget what’s important. We forget all we have to be grateful for.

So, this year, instead of getting caught up in what gifts to buy, why not spend some time thinking about how you and your family can give back to those who may be less fortunate?

This year, why not try putting the “thanks” and “giving” back into Thanksgiving?

There are so many benefits to giving back:

  • Solves problems
  • Strengthens communities
  • Improves lives
  • Benefits your health
  • Increases resilience in your children

Not only can giving back be good for you and the community, research also shows that it can improve your child’s self-esteem and give a mental health boost.

And, giving back can be as simple as checking in on an elderly neighbor who may need help with errands or reaching out to someone who may be alone during the holidays.

It can mean volunteering at an area nonprofit, working on a local fundraising campaign, or making a donation.

The Impact Vine (www.TheImpactVine.org) was launched by The Community Fund of Darien in May, 2017 to make it easier to give back. To solve local problems. To raise funds for nonprofits’ projects. To volunteer. And to make it easier to connect with the community.

The Impact Vine is unique because 100% of all donations go directly to the nonprofit when their project funds; no percentages, credit card fees or administrative fees are taken out, unlike every other online fundraising tool out there.

The site currently has more than three dozen local nonprofits participating with nearly four dozen projects posted which have raised more than $50,000 since their launch.

Projects range from those such as Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s “Thanksgiving Bag of Fixings” project, which is raising funds to provide Thanksgiving meals for 400 Norwalk families, to Americares’ Hurricane Relief project to benefit victims of the recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

From Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s Executive Director Terry Wilcox, “We are grateful to The Impact Vine and the community for coming alongside us to raise funds to provide families in need, who might otherwise go without, with all the fixings to make a complete Thanksgiving dinner to share with family and friends.”

This year, whether you’re feeling grateful for what you have or overwhelmed by the tasks to accomplish before the holidays, take a few minutes to sit down with your family and look at projects on The Impact Vine (www.TheImpactVine.Org).

You could find a nonprofit there doing great work that you didn’t know about. You might decide to make a donation, share with friends, family, colleagues or online to spread the word. You might decide to volunteer.

But, in any case, take a few minutes to give thanks for family and friends. And let’s put the “thanks” and “giving” back into Thanksgiving.

The Community Fund of Darien is an independent, results-oriented, volunteer-driven nonprofit dedicated to securing the local safety net by funding critical local needs and developing new initiatives for unmet needs in Darien, Stamford and Norwalk.

For more information on The Community Fund of Darien, please visit www.CommunityFundDarien.org.

For more information on The Impact Vine, an initiative of The Community Fund of Darien, please visit www.TheImpactVine.org .