Black Friday. This shopping day has become as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey, pumpkin pie, and football. In 2011, U.S. consumers spent $52 billion while shopping during Thanksgiving weekend.

But not everyone in the United States can enjoy the trappings of Thanksgiving, much less Black Friday.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 48.5 million Americans were living below the poverty level — about 16 percent of the population. Many of these people rely on charitable organizations to feed their families — not just at Thanksgiving, but year-round.

For example, Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties is collecting 12,000 turkeys this year to meet local demand. In my hometown of Sacramento, California, more than 6000 people waited for hours yesterday at the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services to get free turkeys and canned goods. One woman waiting in line said she couldn’t afford to buy a turkey this year and pay her utilities bills.

This year, Cisco became a partner in Giving Tuesday on November 27 – a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. On Giving Tuesday, we will encourage our employees to donate and volunteer at local charitable organizations.

Please visit Giving Tuesday for ideas on how you can put the “giving” in Thanksgiving this year.

Together, we can make Giving Tuesday as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey, pumpkin pie, and Black Friday.

Follow Giving Tuesday on Twitter and Facebook.


Alexis Raymond

Senior Manager

Chief Sustainability Office