Nonprofits encourage giving this holiday season

Porchlight Angels buy gifts for needy

Published On: Nov 27 2012 07:23:15 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 27 2012 10:34:03 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Fresh off the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some are hoping to start a new tradition.

It's a national movement known as Giving Tuesday, a chance for nonprofits to highlight the true meaning of the holidays.

It's why the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center chose this day to launch a new effort to find 200 new donors. The center's Emerging Leadership Board is taking its message to social media, hoping young professionals open their hearts to a local cause.

"So why not use this day to try to get 200 new donors to the UW Carbone Cancer Center and make a difference in our own communities?" said board member Diana Henry. "The dollars stay here and could help someone in your own family."

And as local groups make their case this holiday season, one woman is answering the call. No one would blame her for passing on the opportunity to give, but her actions this season should prompt most to stop and think about just how much they can truly give.

Kim Othmer has already been busy with her holiday shopping.

"Christmas to me is about giving," Othmer said.

Othmer is a Porchlight Angel this year. She is shopping for five homeless individuals who could use anything from socks and towels, to toys for their children.

"So instead of giving gifts to us, we're going to be giving gifts to someone else," Othmer said.

Othmer's family is one of many this year choosing not to exchange gifts but focusing on giving back to those who need it the most.

"And until it gets taken away from you, forget about it -- and then you realize that these are the things that are truly important," Othmer said.

Some may think that only someone making ends meet could be this generous, but Othmer doesn't fall into that category.

"Three weeks ago, I lost my job, and it was quite a shock. But in the spirit of the holidays, it is the holidays, and it's all about giving," Othmer said.

And, in giving, Othmer said she's gaining a chance to still be a part of what makes this time of year so magical.

"Everybody deserves to open something on Christmas," Othmer said.

To learn more about Porchlight's Angel program, go to http://www.porchlightinc.org/howToHelp.html.

To donate to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, go to http://uwhealth.org/elb200.