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      Giving Tuesday volunteers help local agencies

      There were Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

      Now there is Giving Tuesday.

      This national campaign encourages people to donate money and volunteer their time to their favorite charity.

      Volunteers with the Heart of Missouri United Way spent their Giving Tuesday helping senior citizens and preschoolers.

      Columbia volunteers cleaned up the homes of some senior citizens through the Boone County Council on Aging. Another group did some yard work and cleaning at the Nora Stewart Early Learning Center. If you missed out on Giving Tuesday, the Heart of Missouri United Way has a new program called Vols for Hols. Thatâ??s a short way of saying volunteers for the holidays.

      Volunteer Coordinator Allison Coffelt said, â??You get to connect with people. You get to really see the need. We are encouraged and excited about our new volunteer initiative at the United Way.â??

      United Way officials said Giving Tuesday is a great way to ask for cash donations during the holiday season. However, they said in most cases, volunteering is a more rewarding experience.

      Heart of Missouri United Way Executive Director Tim Rich said, â??This is an opportunity to go beyond our campaign and dollars and really connect people with other folks who want to give and make a huge difference in peopleâ??s lives.â??

      United Way officials said volunteering at a local charity is an easy thing to do. Just call your local United Way office, Salvation Army or food pantry in order to give back to your community.

      More than 2,000 partners are listed on the official Giving Tuesday website including schools, churches, corporations and non-profits.