On #GivingTuesday consumers turned their attention to helping others following the shopping frenzy of the Thanksgiving weekend.

The annual event sparks million in charitable donations worldwide. Volunteers are expected to pledge thousands of hours to assist their neighbors and those in need.

This year, Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be matching up to $2 million of funds raised on Facebook for US nonprofits. Facebook is also waiving its fees for donations made to nonprofits on its platform.

Locally, Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Mud Bay are teaming up for a day of kitten cuddles. The special Giving Tuesday activities include the ability for companies to reserve time for employees to spend with Mud Bay kitten ambassadors for a $100 suggested donation. PAWS kittens will also be available for individual cuddle sessions for a $10 suggested donation. The 2018 PAWS calendar also debuts Tuesday – all proceeds go to PAWS. Click here for more information about the event.

#GivingTuesday, launched in 2012, is the brainchild of New York City's 92nd Street Y, which, along with the United Nations Foundation, designated the 24-hour period as a time for consumers to encourage each other through social media to donate their time, talents or cash to a cause or organization.

The day dedicated to philanthropy came on the heels of a holiday weekend that saw record-breaking sales as shoppers chased steep discounts rolled out by retailers from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.