Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

Give thanks, celebrate giving


OUR OPINION: As always, South Floridians come through to help those in need

The Miami Foundation held its second annual Give Miami Day on Nov. 20, inviting one and all to contribute online to more than 400 local nonprofits. Donors could specify a particular group or groups to give to or send their money into a general fund to be split among all participating charities.

No amount was too small, according to Miami Foundation CEO Javier Alberto Soto. “We truly respect and value the $25 donors and strongly believe that the $25 Give Miami Day donors have the potential to be the endowment builders of tomorrow,” said Mr. Soto.

This year’s results were truly gratifying: More than 12,200 individual gifts were donated online to local charities, totaling $3.3 million, more than twice the $1.2 million donated in 2012. Calling the 24-hour donation period a “very special Miami moment,” Mr. Soto said, “I think we are just scratching the surface on what we can do. . . . This is a call to action.”

The Foundation is definitely onto something with this savvy campaign. The organization has tapped into a fundamental human impulse: People want to give when they can, and give what they can, be it $25 or $2,500. The initiative and its generous respondents really put the “giving” in Thanksgiving this year, proving that it isn’t so much how much you give, but that you just give something of yourself to someone else who needs help.

The same principle underpins the Miami Herald Charities’ annual Wish Book campaign to help needy, ailing and disabled families all over South Florida.

Every year, beginning on Thanksgiving Day and running through Christmas, the Miami Herald publishes moving articles about individuals and families in need of something that will make their difficult lives better. Whether it is a better wheelchair, a specialized hospital bed or a new appliance, Miami Herald readers inevitably step up, inspired to improve their neighbors’ lives with a financial contribution or in-kind donation.

Dollars and cents aside, there is really no decent way to calculate the true value of a community’s generosity in good and bad times. But it can be a source of justified pride to be a part of a community that believes in helping its neighbors, and we do.

We proved it after Hurricane Andrew, during the Mariel exodus and at countless other benchmark events here.

And that’s where the “thanks” in Thanksgiving comes in. We believe that this is a great place to live, work, dream, raise our families and retire to — or else we would be somewhere else. And this is the day to express our gratitude that we are all fortunate enough to call South Florida home. All 5 million (and counting) of us, stretching from West Palm Beach to Key West.

The beauty of this national holiday is that it embraces everyone. It has no ties to any single religion or ethnicity, and so excludes no person among us.

In a way it is the perfect holiday for a region that’s home to so many different languages, traditions and histories.

We can make this day anything we want it to be — a traditional turkey feast for family and friends with a side of football or a day to prepare and serve food to the less fortunate among us. There could be a roast pig on the table instead of the turkey, and black beans and rice in place of green beans topped with onion rings.

Whatever your preferences, be sure to celebrate the “thanks” and the “giving” together on this fine holiday.

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