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Best 'Big Give' Ever: East Tennesseans raise more than $330,000 for local charities on Giving Tuesday

The 24-hour online campaign, Big Give Knox, took place on Giving Tuesday. It raised money and awareness for local charities.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — People in East Tennessee gave back to the community in a big way on Giving Tuesday, setting a new record for the United Way of Greater Knoxville's donation campaign to help non-profits in the area.

The United Way said 1,355 donors in the community raised more than $332,000 for 100 organizations in East Tennessee, which was a new all-time high for The Big Give campaign. 

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As the hustle and bustle of shopping for the holidays begin, some Knoxville groups are trying to cut through the noise and make the holidays a little less challenging for some people.

Dozens upon dozens of nonprofits in the area big and small, from Young-Williams Animal Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, Dogwood Arts, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, and more are hoping for people to give back in a big way on Giving Tuesday.

November 30 is a day of generosity -- created as a way for people to give back to nonprofits after a weekend full of shopping.

The United Way of Great Knoxville has made it easier than ever for people to find and support local nonprofits in the area through its annual "Big Give Knox" Giving Tuesday campaign. You can simply head to the campaign's website at this link to find and donate to dozens of organizations.

The holiday season can be challenging for nonprofits as more people seek help. It's one of their busiest times of the year, officials said.

"Some folks that we see and take meals to — we're the only people that they see every day,"  said Dottie Lyvers with Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee.

At CAC, volunteers brighten the days of homebound seniors with free meal deliveries. Thanksgiving and Christmas are no exceptions.

And at the McNabb Center, mental health care is one of the many services offered. The organization said that they are serving everyone from children with mental health issues to teenagers who are dealing with substance abuse disorders.

According to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.

Nonprofits across Knoxville are trying to make the holidays happier for those struggling.

"If you have time, talent or treasures to give back to others in our community, this is the perfect time of year to do that," said Brewton Couch, the United Way of Greater Knoxville Chief Strategy Officer.

Giving Tuesday is a reminder of what the holiday season is all about: giving back.

This year, the United Way is bringing 100 nonprofits together for Big Give Knox, a 24-hour online campaign meant to raise money and awareness for local charities.

"Our donors here in Knoxville can one-stop-shop donate to all the nonprofits that they love and care about, and really try and live by that 'a rising tide lifts all boats' mentality," Couch said.

And Houston Smelcer, a leader at the McNabb Center, said Giving Tuesday is about more than just fundraising.

"[It's about] awareness. There's a lot of good work being done by McNabb Center, lots of other nonprofit organizations in East Tennessee, and it just casts a little brighter light when people are looking," he said.

Anyone can donate by visiting the Big Give Knox website. There, they can contribute to specific nonprofit organizations participating in the online event. They can also search through different organizations based on their causes.