MADISON, NJ,-- On December 3, the day known as  #GivingTuesday, the Madison Eagle Christmas Fund (MECF) will join philanthropic organizations around the world to raise awareness and inspire people to take action to give back to their communities.  The MECF, a proud Madison tradition that has assisted thousands of local families and seniors for 45 years, aims to raise $2,500 on #GivingTuesday to help brighten the holidays for local residents with financial challenges.  This year, an anonymous Madison donor will match the first $2000 gifts on #GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday is a global day of giving on December 3 that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity. Following the widely recognized holiday shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which focus on “getting deals,”  #GivingTuesday aims to change the focus to “giving back.” The #GivingTuesday movement was founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y – a community and cultural center in New York City − and has inspired millions of people to give generously of money, time and talent. More than $300 million has been raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and even more was furnished in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

The MECF is a community effort with civics and religious groups, merchants, volunteers and individual donors teaming up to help neighbors in need in Madison. Last year, the fund assisted 57 families and 70 senior citizens, providing holiday gifts such as coats, toys, books, grocery and gas gift cards for close to 300 residents.

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Those who are interested in joining the MECF’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit the MECF Facebook page on December 3 or the fund’s website at http://www.madisoneaglechristmasfund.org/donate to make a donation.  Tax deductible donations also can be made throughout the holiday season through the insert provided in the October electric bill or by posting a check payable to the Madison Eagle Christmas Fund, PO Box 2, Madison, NJ 07940.  

In addition to monetary donations, residents also can donate purchased gifts through area businesses and other organizations.  Several area merchants, the Madison Library and St. Vincent Martyr School are now collecting donations of NEW books, sporting equipment, school and art supplies (such as crayons and coloring books) for children up to 12 years old as well as gloves, hats and mittens.  Gifts for “tweens” are especially needed. Toy collection sites include the following: Alfred’s Sports Shop, Coldwell Banker, Fulton Bank, GameChanger Fitness Madison, Lakeland Bank, The Max Challenge, Provident Bank, Tons of Toys, Sugar Rush, Weichert Realtors.  Adams Dental will be collecting new gloves of all sizes, St. Vincent Martyr School will be collecting new gloves, school and art supplies, and the Madison Library also will have a box for the collection of new books for children, teens and adults.  

To make donations even easier, customers can purchase a toy or gift at three merchants —  Alfred’s, Sugar Rush and Tons of Toys — and donate while in the store for one-stop shopping.  Cleaners Advantage also will pick up news toys by arrangement. All collection boxes will be in place until December 11, 2019.

Gary Ruckleshaus, chairman of the MECF, says, "The MECF began with Louise Easton buying gifts for local seniors to show her children that the spirit of the holidays was more than just receiving presents.  This day, #GivingTuesday, reminds us of what the holidays should be about. It is a perfect time to see how small gifts of generosity can have a great impact on a whole community.” 

The MECF raises about $30,000 annually, and relies solely on donations and volunteers to cover operating expenses.  To learn more about MECF and other donation opportunities in town, visit www.madisoneaglechristmasfund.org or like the group on Facebook.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit: Website: www.givingtuesday.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday Twitter: twitter.com/GivingTues.