Economic woes can mean a struggle for individuals, families, and businesses to make ends meet. A down economy also has the potential to deprive people of the gift of giving, a harsh reality during the time of year when giving matters most. announced today an effort to support the act of giving–enabling people to pass on $1 million worth of restaurant gift certificates at no cost, every day for the next 30 days–as part of an initiative called, “Feed It Forward.”

“We can let recent setbacks dampen our holiday spirit, or we can choose to stand up, give from the heart and brighten the days of many people near and far,” says Cary Chessick, chief “giving guru” at “People are challenged right now to get what they need for themselves let alone for others. We want to enable a nationwide giving movement and ‘feeding frenzy’ that runs contrary to all of the negative talk surrounding the economy.”

The “Feed It Forward” initiative is built upon a single giving Web site,, stocked with a total of three million, $10 gift certificates totaling $30 million. The site will be live through Christmas day and allows consumers to go online to give gift certificates to friends, family, co-workers and people who might not otherwise make their holiday gift list. On a first come, first serve basis, gift givers choose who to give to and gift recipients then decide where to dine among the more than 5,000 participating restaurants nationwide.

To send free $10 gift certificates, gift givers simply enter their name and email address, as well as information for the people they wish to give to–as many as three people each day for the length of the initiative. They can go to the giving site every day and share gift certificates with people, who can also join in the giving effort.

People can share a brief story, a note of endearment or gratitude for why they are giving. The site will feature some of these messages of appreciation on the home page. When people “feed it forward” and give away gift certificates, a U.S. map displayed on the site will depict the areas of the country where the giving is happening.

Supporting the initiative are leading companies, which like, believe the gift of giving will inspire hope and bring people together during challenging times. Upromise, the college savings rewards company, is the lead sponsor. Other companies backing the effort include and Ted’s Montana Grill.

“We know what it feels like to give and the timing is right now for us to do our part,” says Chessick. “There is absolutely no cost for giving through the site. So, please give to families. Give to friends. Give to neighbors. Give to grandparents. Give to co-workers, but most of all, give.”

Charitable Giving, News