RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- Giving Tuesday asks us to give back after all the spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and last year, people were very generous -- to the tune of nearly $2.5 billion in donations.
But before you give, 7 On Your Side has the best ways to donate without getting scammed.
The impact of giving is felt every day at charities like River Fund in Richmond Hill, where palettes of donated food feed 15,000 hungry New York city households each week.
"It really is about bringing dignity, respect and normalcy to a life that if you can imagine a senior at 80 years old standing on a line to get food," River Fund founder Swami Durga Das said. "I mean there's no need for our society to be at this place, but we are."
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Das founded the non-profit 25 years ago, and long before Giving Tuesday became a day to draw attention to poverty globally, his volunteers were clothing, housing and educating kids like Josselyn Vasquez, who arrived in Queens with her family and only the clothes on their backs.
"He gave me a big thing of clothes and gave clothes to my brother...mainly they just gave us stuff to survive," she said.
A history of helping empower lives is why River Fund is among the highest rated organizations on Charity Navigator -- the New Jersey based charity assessment resource provides evaluations of hundreds of thousands of American charities.
You should always check ratings and reviews before opening your wallet, and beware of names that are similar before clicking the donate button. Click here for the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
Giving locally to charities fundraising right in your community is always a safe bet, especially when you can see your friends are supporting the cause.
And remember, Giving Tuesday isn't all about money.
Teachers Roni Kanter and Michelle Sussman wrote "Big Hearts Small Hands" as a guide to giving from the heart, with acts of kindness that don't cost a dime.
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Third graders in Englewood were encouraged to draw or learn to help raise funds for organizations like Free Rice, a trivia app that allows player to donate rice families in need.
If you get a call, text, or email pressuring you to give on the spot, don't cave. Any legitimate charity will be just as happy to get your dollars tomorrow as well as today, after you've done some research.
Also, never give cash, and don't provide your bank account or credit card numbers to any charity with which you are unfamiliar.
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