Military Giving Tuesday is set for its third year of observance on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 30. Its inception began in May of 2019 when three of the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year awardees came together with a shared vision.
Jessica Manfre, 2019 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year, Maria Reed, 2019 Army Spouse of the Year, and Samantha Gomolka, 2019 National Guard Spouse of the Year “wanted to create something special that would unite all the branches of service in a collective effort to serve with purpose and in kindness.” The #GivingTuesdayMilitary movement was born.
In its inaugural year, 2019, the campaign utilized hashtags to record over 2.5 million acts of kindness. When Stacy Bilodeau, 2018 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year joined the team in 2020 the movement produced Inspire Up, a 501c3 whose mission is to “Inspire Up a kinder and more giving world by uniting the military and civilian communities through empowerment, education, community building and a commitment to serve,” according to inspireupfoundation.org.
“It’s not about money, it’s about kindness,” explained Director of Community Engagement and Director of GMT, Brittany Raines, who is a Fort Drum military spouse.
Local Fort Bragg spouse Tawni Dixon, a member of Fort Bragg’s 2020 Family of the Year, connected to the movement via Raines and with her counterpart Shauna Johnson, together as GMT Ambassadors they are bringing the movement to Fort Bragg.
They have created a Facebook group (GivingMilitaryTuesday – Fort Bragg) and they are spreading the word via personal networks.
“We have a really amazing volunteer pool here at Fort Bragg. I think Fort Bragg just has a lot of rock-star-volunteers here and so once you talk about it word just travels really fast,” Dixon said. “We know that Fort Bragg is such a family it has been easy to get the word out.” It’s all about improving the community and bringing smiles to people’s faces.
“Our motto is dropping kindness all over the center of the military universe. It doesn’t matter how, it can be so simple,” said Dixon
One example Dixon shared is when, at her place of work, someone placed googly eyes on a debit card payment system and in a few other select places and it made people smile.
“It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture we just want people to spread kindness.”
The group has several events planned to further their cause. They will be supporting the Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Holiday Hooah to give out gifts to military families in need, and they will be participating in a packing party and helping to distribute food at the ASYMCA Food Pantry on Nov. 30 in observance of GMT.
If you are interested in participating and want to get involved, the group can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is open to anyone who wants to volunteer, although events on post may require a DOD ID or entry through All-American Access Control Point.
“Giving Tuesday is not about being grand… it's really just about being kind in the world,” said Dixon.