When I was a teenager, my mom and I used to go shopping on Black Friday. Well … she would shop. I would usually end up sprawled on the sidewalk in front of the mall, reading a book and waiting for her to finish buying gifts for our family.
It should be noted, though, that my mom didn’t necessarily enjoy these dawn excursions with a whiny teen. She did it because she loved us, and she wanted Christmas to be special. Our family wasn’t wealthy, and she saved all year to buy those gifts — to demonstrate in a tangible way that she knew us, knew what we liked. And that she loved us.
And even the malls couldn’t interfere with that mother’s heart.
In a lot of ways, Giving Tuesday feels a long way from a crowded mall on Black Friday. Yet, it is my mom, and the many sacrifices she made during my childhood, who I think of as I prepare for this year’s Giving Tuesday event. It’s a day to focus on giving rather than receiving. And to me, nothing embodies that like mothers.
Which is why we want to focus our Giving Tuesday efforts this year on funding a Child Survival Program in a small community in Gujarat, India.
The realities these mothers face look very different from the ones my own mother faced.
The average woman is just 18 when she becomes a mother here.
She has four children.
More than 70 percent of the mothers here give birth in their homes.
Their children are malnourished.
And they are surrounded by illiteracy, alcoholism, child labor, child marriage and abuse.
Yet, in each of these young moms beats a mother’s heart. One who wants to provide for her child — to provide food and shelter and laughter and joy. She wants her child to have sweet memories, a favorite toy that brings him comfort.
All of that, and more, is possible through the Child Survival Program. The center we are funding this year, Calvary Child Survival Center, is full of moms who need your support. Who need you to release the burden of poverty and provide a place for their children to learn and grow and play.
Even though my mom and I live hundreds of miles apart now, I still think of her on Black Friday. And this year, I will think of her on Giving Tuesday. I will remember the sacrifices she made, and I will make my own small sacrifice to give a mother and baby in poverty a first step toward a brighter future.
My mom would be proud.