If there’s one truth that has become strikingly clear to me, it’s that the holidays have, and always will be, a magical time. What makes these days so special is the meaning we create from them, and most of that meaning comes from giving. We give gifts, food, laughs and even memories to loved ones without a sign of hesitation. We celebrate our blessings, and we are reminded that kindness and generosity should reign.
December 1 is Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. People across the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity. It’s a crucial day to think about how we can give back to those in need and take actions to recognize that others are less fortunate.
As a corporate citizen, Konica Minolta’s commitment is to create social value, through reducing our environmental impact through supporting global initiatives formed at the Paris COP21 United Nations conference on climate change or by contributing to society to better lives. The latter is a much more individual and personal initiative. And, giving back isn’t just the right thing to do: studies show that it’s good for you. According to a 12-month study conducted by United Health Group in 2013, out of 3,351 adults surveyed, 76 percent said they felt physically healthier, 80 percent felt they had better control over their health and 78 percent had lowered stress-levels after giving back.
Our corporate social initiatives are diverse, from supporting Food for Thought, where we have collected more than 29,000 food items in the past two years, to Back to School supply drives and winter coat drives. For Konica Minolta, giving doesn’t just happen on one specific day a year. Through our many programs, we are able to give back to many causes throughout the year.
Giving is also imperative on a personal level. As an individual, giving is about understanding and compassion. Understanding through having the desire to learn while seeing past our own wants and needs. And, having compassion for others less fortunate then us, which is ultimately driven through emotional connection.
My eighth-grader, Alanna, is a member of the Peer Leadership Corp at her middle school. The PLC fosters opportunities to create a caring school community through encouraging moral action and shared moral leadership. It supports more than 25 charities through dances and fundraising events members organize at school. Alanna is passionate about everyone “deserving the necessities” of food, clothing, and shelter. As a parent, my hope is that this desire to give remains strong and is practiced throughout her lifetime.
There are many ways that each of us can give back. Dedicate a few hours to volunteer to work in a soup kitchen, hospital or shelter. Write cards to send to our military overseas. Even hold the door for someone or pitch in on a project. As human beings, we must constantly look for ways to give back. Let’s lead by example. If we set the example, others will follow suit. Then every day will be Giving Tuesday.