After a big weekend of shopping which continued through Monday with huge cyber deals, the first Giving Tuesday is being held today.


Giving Tuesday is an idea that originated from New York's 92nd Street Y, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. People across the nation are encouraged to open their hearts and wallets for a good cause – to donate either their time or money to a non-profit of their choice today.


The hope is that, with so many shoppers hitting the stores and giving the economy a bit of a boost over the last few days, the same amount of people or even more will help those in need during the holidays.


Many opportunities to give back to the community are available around Aiken County. Candis Moyer, resource development director of the United Way of Aiken County, hadn't heard of this new movement and was happy to hear about it.


“I think it's exciting that they've started this,” Moyer said. “I think it's definitely a good chance to think of others in the community and help those who are in need.”


Moyer added that, rather than buying expensive gifts for friends and family, helping someone who isn't fortunate enough to do the same for their loved ones is more important.


Moyer said monetary donations can easily be made to the United Way of Aiken County to benefit local non-profits associated with it and if anyone wants to donate an item, call a specific organization and ask what they need.


Contacting an organization and inquiring about various volunteering opportunities is also beneficial – many non-profits have a need for all sorts of volunteer work.


Animals are also in need during the holiday season and rescue groups hope to be on the minds of those participating in this Day of Giving. Jennifer Miller, president of the Friends of the Animal Shelter, said they need volunteers, foster homes, financial donations and donations of pet care items, especially blankets.


Miller said the idea for Giving Tuesday is a great one, and she hopes it attracts some long-term volunteers as there are many homeless pets who need a helping hand.


“We are really grateful for any help we can get,” Miller said. “When people do this kind of work, I think they can get just as much back.”


For more information, visit www.givingtuesday.org.