Bay area charities to benefit on Giving Tuesday

By Fallon Silcox, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 9:51 AM EST

A global movement powered by social media and good people is taking place today as Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season. 

Millions of Americans have been embracing the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza known as "Black Friday." Then came "Cyber Monday," online retailers' chance to cash in on the holiday buying frenzy. 

Now consumers are being urged to open their wallets for "Giving Tuesday" (sometimes written #GivingTuesday), a day to raise funds for charitable causes. 

The opportunity also has risen for residents to give back locally and have an impact in their own community. Among the local organizations benefiting: Metropolitan Ministries, Suncoast Hospice, Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Meals on Wheels and the Children's Cancer Center.

A St. Petersburg company, Kahwa Coffee, has partnered with Tampa Bay Rays' third baseman Evan Longoria and a Pinellas County organization Wheelchairs 4 Kids. 

Ten dollars of each $14.99 bag of No. 3 coffee will go to Wheelchairs 4 Kids.

On Tuesday, every purchase of a bag of limited edition No. 3 coffee will go to helping children with physical disabilities. In addition to regular wheelchairs, the group provides unique and specialized bikes for children with various challenges.

"We help kids with physical disabilities," said Madeline Robinson with Wheelchairs 4 Kids. "We provide wheelchairs, home modifications, vehicle modifications, and other assisted devices at no charge to families." 

Robinson said the organization has helped countless children with conditions like cerebral palsy. 

"The bike really helps get his legs going," said Lissette Lopez, whose son Aiden has a specialty bike. "It's great exercise for him, I never thought I'd see my son pedal a bike and now I have." 

And it's the smiles on the kids faces that make the difficult days a little easier.

Robinson said there is a waiting list for children needing specialty devices to help them get around. 

"We hadn't met them before we contacted them, in fact, the first time I met them is when we picked up the bike," said parent John Salvas. "So for a charity to be that giving - not even to know the person really it's pretty amazing."