Americans spent over 3 Billion Dollars on Black Friday alone this year, and while I am never one to begrudge the holiday spirit, or gift giving in general, I do get to look at spending and resources through a lens that many may not. Through my position as vice-chair of the Cape Fear Housing Coalition, and executive director of Cape Fear Community Land Trust, I get to see Wilmington from a different perspective. Homeowners and renters that we, and other local nonprofit agencies, work with have to make very difficult decisions on a daily basis concerning their spending. After using well-over 30% of their modest income on housing (often over 50%), there is very little to cover life's other essentials such as food, medicine, childcare, and so on. Families right here in Wilmington skip meals on a regular basis so that there is enough food for their whole family to survive. How do you pick between a meal and medicine? How do you decide which of your children eats tonight? These are questions that many of us have never thought of, and hopefully will never be faced with.

As the Thanksgiving holiday comes to a close, and the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday shopping concludes, let us pause to think about our fellow community members who are working multiple jobs just to make ends almost meet. If just pausing for a moment to put yourself in someone else's shoes is all that you do on this Giving Tuesday, you will have made something of this day. If after reflecting you find that you have some left over funds available for those less fortunate, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Cape Fear Community Land Trust by clicking the "Take Action" button at the top of the page.

We desperately need your help during this season of giving so that we can help more and more families in the year to come. Freeing up just that little extra for our partner families, by lowering the cost of their housing, is a gift that we, and they, will never forget. Please help us to make the season brighter for some very deserving families in our community. After all, we are a better community when we give back and support those who just need a little extra help.

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,  Paul J Stavovy, Executive Director, Cape Fear Community Land Trust