GRAPEVINE, Texas -- On Monday millions of items, boxes, and deliveries were moved in and out of the Amazon Fulfillment Center just north of Fort Worth. The online deals were placed with each passing second at the epicenter of Cyber Monday, and efficiently processed as shoppers sought the perfect gift to provide their family and friends a Merry Christmas.
About 20 miles away in Grapevine, another warehouse full of gifts sat relatively silent and significantly smaller. Cyber Monday was not a day that brought much action to the GRACE Christmas Cottage in Grapevine. Instead, they hope that day comes Tuesday.
“Black Friday, Cyber Monday, those are all about grabbing and getting and consuming,” said GRACE Executive Director Shonda Schaefer. “Tuesday is a day to sit back and think of how blessed we are and how we can give back to the community.”
The idea of Giving Tuesday was born in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. After several days of consumer and commercial excess, the day is supposed to be a reminder of what the season is truly about.
Especially to those who are unable to take part in the shopping frenzy.
GRACE (Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange) helps serve nearly 1,500 families, with about 2,000 children, in Tarrant County. The holiday season is a particularly important time. For the families GRACE serves, Schaefer said the cost of Christmas is often too much.
“For these families, it could be the difference between homelessness and celebrating Christmas," she said.
But it takes help in the form of donations. And that is why Giving Tuesday is such an important day for organizations like GRACE. It aims to motivate donations, charity, and volunteer work in the spirit of the season. Wallet-Hub recently revealed results of their poll showing Texas ranked 48th in the country in charitable giving.
At the GRACE facility on Main Street in Grapevine, toys, clothes, bicycles, and everything one would need to play Santa Claus, are all items donated by individuals, churches, and Santa’s Helpers.
In December, GRACE lets parents they serve come and select gifts for their family using a point system.
“This is my way of enjoying Christmas through the eyes of other children,” said Judy Sutherland.
She is a volunteer with GRACE and her family has all grown up into adults, but she now celebrates the Christmas experience by bringing the joy to others. An experience that is often emotional.
“We all get very choked up,” said Sutherland about the moment parents pick the perfect present. “They leave here very overwhelmed.”