Giving Tuesday was celebrated across the country Tuesday, but the spirit of the occasion could also be felt in the Athens-Limestone County community.

Several organizations took to social media to request donations from the public. The Athens Arts League set a goal of $500 and had almost reached it by Tuesday afternoon.

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful also started a Facebook campaign that had raised $150 by late Tuesday afternoon. Executive Coordinator Lynne Hart said the money would be used for a number of projects, including education, recycling, river cleanups and the Adopt-a-Spot program.

“This organization does so much in our own community on a very small budget,” Hart said. “Your funds are needed and used carefully, and all efforts are directed to Athens-Limestone County.”

Facebook previously announced it would match up to $7 million in eligible donations made via Facebook. Only 501(c)(3) organizations were eligible to receive the matching gifts.

Kaye Young McFarlen with United Way of Athens-Limestone County said her agency sent out a newsletter prior to Giving Tuesday and received “a good response.”

“We really want people to not only give on Giving Tuesday, but also find a way to give all year round,” she said.

The United Way has a number of partner agencies, including the Boys & Girls Club, Family Resource Center, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, American Red Cross and the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama.

One of the United Way's most urgent needs, McFarlen said, is toys for the annual Toys for Tots program. She said fewer people signed up to receive assistance this year, but for those who do need it, there are fewer toys to go around.

She said toys would be collected through Dec. 13 and can be dropped off at the United Way office at 419 S. Marion St., Athens. There is also a donation box at The News Courier office at 410 W. Green St., Athens, across from the farmers market. Donated toys should be new, unwrapped and appropriate for children from infancy to age 13.

Most needed are toys for children ages 1-2. For older children, McFarlen said board games are always appreciated.

About Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday was established in 2012. Since then, the initiative has grown “into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity,” according to the Giving Tuesday website.

There were 3.6 million gifts received on Giving Tuesday 2018 and $400 million raised online in the United States. The mean gift amount was $105.

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