After shoppers spend billions on the weekend, fundraisers seek help on Giving Tuesday

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It was created to counter the outrageous spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and today thousands of Minnesota organizations are taking part in Giving Tuesday.

Designed to direct spending to good causes after a shopping weekend that saw billions spent on retail goods, charity and community groups across the state are encouraging people to spend a little on good causes.

The hashtag #GivingTuesday has been trending in the Twin Cities this morning as groups drum up support for the third annual global giving back day, with interest in the appeal growing since its launch year in 2012, which the Star Tribune reported involved more than 4,000 Minnesota groups. Among those getting involved with Giving Tuesday appeals is Hunger Minnesota, which is asking for donations of anything up to $1,000 to help children in the state who can't eat three square meals a day.

The Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church meanwhile is fundraising for three of the wider church's causes, which are to help fight Ebola in West Africa, provide food for starving children around the world, and to develop partnerships with orphanages in Vietnam.

Donors are being encouraged to spread the word about their contributions by posting an "Unselfie" of themselves and details of their donation on social media.

The Minnesota and Wisconsin branch of the Volunteers of America has appealed for donations after describing the help they gave a down-on-his-luck homeless veteran from Minneapolis on the Giving Tuesday website.

The former marine, named David, was spotted by volunteers beneath an underpass of I-35W. He had been living under a heating vent outside a laundromat with his 5-months-pregnant wife.

They found him shelter, medical help and are assisting in his job search. The Volunteers of America says it wants donations so they can help those in similar situations.

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