Non-profits in the Lehigh Valley are hoping for a little generosity this Giving Tuesday.

"In the non-profit industry 17% of donations typically come from end-of-the-year appeals, and Giving Tuesday really is the kick off to that," said Raymond Santiago, the senior director for campaign strategy for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.

Santiago says the need has never been greater. Their data show 88% more people in the region are using food pantries since before the pandemic began - many of them using it for the first time.

 "They're having to make tough decisions, which is then pushing them to food pantries to get that extra support they need to get by," Santiago said. "And thousands of our students have fallen several months to several years behind, so the need is great out there."

"We are seeing that exact same thing," said Maria Esposito, the vice president for advancement for Communities in Schools, which helps students with education barriers like food insecurity, as well as medical and mental health issues.

This week they're collecting donations for school supplies.

"We had a full plate before, we have an extra full plate now because there's just so many more people in need that weren't in need before," Esposito said. "And think about why a family is facing something as critical as food insecurity, school supplies fall pretty far down the priorities list."

Thankfully, donations have been strong. Both groups hope it continues, since the need isn't going away.

"Really it's been in my experience that in the toughest of times, people are the most generous and you don't have to have a lot to give a little," Esposito said.

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