NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Americans are being asked to reach into their pockets again, but this time for a good cause.

Today is Giving Tuesday — a national movement intended to encourage donations to charities and volunteerism.

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On Tuesday, hundreds filed in to the 92nd Street Y to build care packages for the homeless and others in need.

Anita Sherman, 98, was doing her part. She and others knitted hats for premature babies and others in need.

“I feel that I am helping someone and I enjoy it, because I’m giving,” Sherman said.

“I leave here feeling good about my morning and knowing that I did something to help somebody else, even if it’s a small gesture it’s something that could change their day,” 16-year-old volunteer Maya said.

“I think it’s a really great gesture for us to do this because it doesn’t take a lot of time and it means so much to them,” said 10th grader Emma Walter. “They don’t have these resources and just to put together a care package means a lot.”

Giving Tuesday was conceptualized and launched in 2012 at the 92nd Street Y as a way to kick off the charitable season.

Executive Director Henry Timms says the concept started at his kitchen table.

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“The first year, we measured $10 million. Last year, we measured $180 million,” he told WCBS 880’S Peter Haskell.

That’s just online, even more has been donated in person.

Giving Tuesday is now a global phenomenon that raised $177 million in online donations last year. In its debut, the movement triggered more than $10 million in online donations, a 53 percent jump over the same Tuesday a year earlier.

Organizers are also harnessing the power of social media, with the hashtag #GivingTuesday, to encourage more people to celebrate generosity and give.

If you are thinking about giving back, make sure you protect yourself from scammers.

“There are a lot of charities out there that use names that are strikingly similar to the names of organizations we all recognize,” said Karin Kunstler-Goldman with the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.

More: Click Here To Learn More About Giving Tuesday

The Federal Trade Commission says avoid any charity that refuses to provide detailed information about its identity or how the donation will be used. Also beware if the charity won’t provide proof that your donation is tax deductible.

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