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In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I’m overloaded with the continuous demands placed on me to spend money. The commercialism associated with gift-giving appeals to the side of us that values self-gratification before the needs of others. Advertisers and retailers are well aware that in North America more altruistic pursuits are often secondary on our list of priorities.

There is a way to take back the holiday season and to refocus our energies on what is really important. Giving Tuesday, December 2 is a national day of volunteering and giving back to our communities.

The need is great. According to Global TV News, 30,000 people in Canada are homeless. Children represent 36% of food bank users in this country. One in seven children live in poverty in Canada, despite goals set by politicians in 1989 to eradicate child poverty by 2000. Visit http://globalnews.ca/news/1699146/16×9-25-years-later-canadas-child-poverty-rate-remains-unchanged/ to watch Global TV’s video on poverty in Canada.

You can give back by volunteering or by making a financial donation to one of the many charitable groups in Canada who are in need of finances to conduct research, heal disease, provide clothing, treat PTSD, feed children, drive a senior, supply drinking water, buy toys, cook a Christmas dinner, or to simply keep in operation.

Follow the Giving Tuesday link to find a charitable organization in Canada that needs your financial help http://givingtuesday.ca/. Or visit http://nightshiftministries.org/.

Wherever or however you give, I hope that you’ll give back in some way this holiday season and throughout 2015.