Giving Tuesday: The Movement Our Communities Desperately Need Right Now
Posted: November 24, 2020

We must act.

Giving Tuesday or a day of giving, follows the marathon of shopping that unfolds across our country the day after Thanksgiving: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday. The hustle and bustle of the holidays fades for a day, so we can turn our focus to doing good for others – a movement our communities, our country and our world needs now more than ever.

We must care.

As Executive Director of Curamericas Global, a global health nonprofit, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., I’ve watched as our focus of forgotten communities has extended around the world and come right back to communities in our own backyard of North Carolina and beyond. Food insecurity, lack of access to resources and health care are no longer realities that only belong to mothers and children living in villages in the western highlands of Guatemala or the slums of Kenya. No, families – here – in my hometown are facing the same trials since the COVID-19 pandemic quickly took hold of our country. Yet, those villages – thousands of miles away – face an uphill battle like never before.

We must move.

It’s been more than seven months since the pandemic changed life as we know it – and in that time, I’ve watched a special movement unfold.  A movement led by volunteers, young professionals, high school students, current and former healthcare workers who have already given so much of themselves. They’ve mobilized, sharing their expertise, skills, passions and hearts to reach families devastated by this pandemic. 

Their acts have been as simple as picking up a phone to speak with a family in Spanish, ensuring they know there is someone on the other end of the call who cares and can connect them to life-saving information and resources. They’ve spent weeks being trained as Community Health Workers, preparing to reach the hardest hit areas, where no one else has wanted to go.

We must give.

As a nonprofit organization, our mission has evolved, pivoted and expanded in ways we never knew were possible. We’ve seen people give of themselves and step out of their comfort zones in ways that they probably never knew were possible.

Now, we face a new moment in this global crisis. Cases are on the rise – our holidays uncertain – and new realities that we were faced with just months ago seem to be coming back in full force. Though fears of the unknown creep back up, we know that our mission must continue and we must have hope.

Women thousands of miles away are still giving birth – hours from their closest hospital. Their children are at risk of not seeing their 5th birthday, because of illnesses and diseases our doctors in the United States treat every day. 

Closer to home, a mother who serves as an essential worker tests positive for COVID, and in the midst of her illness is now faced with how she’s going to put food on the table for her family. A father who lost his job as a result of the pandemic doesn’t know if his family will be forced out on the streets in the middle of winter. He doesn’t know who to call, because he can’t speak English.

These are the realities that motivate us to act, care, move and, yes, give. This Giving Tuesday, be empowered to make a difference – a phone call, a care package, a donation – there is no act too small when acting in the service to others. 

By: Andrew Herrera, MPH, MBA, Executive Director of Curamericas Global

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