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First there was Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday, then Cyber Monday.

Today is Giving Tuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. Here in Northwest Ohio, we’re participating in #GivingTuesdayNWO. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

After all the great deals and holiday savings, today is a chance to pause, reflect and support the local nonprofit(s) of your choice.

Participating local charities, including 1Matters.org and Veterans Matter, have the chance to receive matching funds up to $1,000 from the Toledo Community Foundation for all donations made TODAY. Donations must be made (not just pledged, but made) on Dec. 1 for the gift to count.

Veterans Matter has housed nearly 850 veterans and veteran families in 11 states (25 percent of which are children) since 2012. Including spouses and children, we’ve housed more than 1,300 people! None of this would be possible without the support of thousands of everyday Americans who have donated to help house our nation’s heroes, living on the streets of the very country they served.

All donations received today will help us house veterans and veteran families waiting right now.

As sickening as it is, it’s easy for us to envision a homeless veteran sleeping in his car this winter, shivering, literally trying to shake off the cold. But that cold cannot be shaken off because it has burrowed into the very marrow of his bones.

What’s not as easy to imagine is his 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter in the back seat, both snuggled against their mother, a mother desperately trying to use her body heat to warm her shivering children, who are also trying to shake off that same cold. But they cannot because that bone chilling cold has now burrowed deeply into their little bones.

Take that in. Please.

Now imagine that same father and mother going into their children’s warm rooms at night, tucking them in, even telling them a bedtime story before turning off the lights, leaving on a nightlight to comfort the children as they sink into their own pillows, in their own home.

Now imagine that you had the “Power of 1” to help that veteran family have that home. Because YOU do. You have the Power of 1 to save and change lives. We all do. But do we choose to use it for good? This is what defines our humanity.

We must take care of our own.

Veterans Matter is a program of 1Matters.org, a Toledo-based nonprofit sparked and supported by singer John Mellencamp, with a mission to leverage community compassion and deliver it to those on the streets and in the shelters, with the goal of helping people return to domestic autonomy. 1Matters.org’s annual Tent City draws more than 1,000 guests and volunteers over the three-day weekend, where people can gain access to food, clothing, medical services, social services, haircuts and friendship.

Donations to either 1Matters.org or Veterans Matter count toward our goal of $1,000 in donations on #GivingTuesdayNWO. Donations specified to 1Matters will stay with 1Matters, and donations specified to Veterans Matters will stay with Veterans Matter.

Any matching funds we receive from #GivingTuesdayNWO (up to $1,000) will be used to help area residents obtain critical documents (birth certificates and IDs). The need is huge. Without them, people cannot get a job, services, even food or shelter. Last year, we were quite limited in capacity. This year, we provided $2,500 for critical documents at Tent City, yet still had to turn people away.

Please consider making a donation to Veterans Matter today. This is a unique opportunity to help us double $1,000 of our donations.

Click here to donate!

-Ken Leslie
Founder
Veterans Matter

PS We’d love to hear from you! Take an #UNSelfie (download and print the template here) or tag us in a post about why you decided to donate on #GivingTuesdayNWO

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