Thanksgiving always seems to get the short end of the stick. It feels as though we go from Halloween straight into Christmas. Now I love a good Thanksgiving dinner as much as the next guy but my heart really belongs to Christmas and Halloween. Christmas especially is such a joyous time of year. People are generally in a better mood and they're more giving of themselves and of any money and goods that they may have. I am one of those people that anxiously wait for Thanksgiving to be over so that I could start decorating immediately the day after. Screw Black Friday, I am all about decorating my house.
Don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving too but in a different way than Christmas. I love spending time with my family, I love the food and I love that there's a whole day where people just think about what they're thankful for because I don't think people take enough time for that. People go day to day not realizing the joy and beauty of everything around them. Never being grateful for everything in their life or even taking the time to appreciate all they have.
Christmas is definitely the season of giving. There are thousands of organizations everyday soliciting donations of money, gifts and food for those families that need a little extra help. Last year I donated a ham and some other food to a local family. I have no idea who they were. I actually found them on our local online yard sale page on Facebook. I had a ham in my freezer and I wanted to give it to someone that needed something more for their Christmas dinner. A woman responded that she knew just the family and would meet me to pick it up. On my way there I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few more bags of food and met her. She was so grateful and appreciative. She thanked me numerous times and told me that the family would love this Christmas dinner. It filled my heart with joy. I was so grateful that I was able to give a family a meal that they might not otherwise have had and it made me grateful for all that I have in my life. Grateful that I don’t have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. Grateful that I have a mother that hosts us for all the holidays and we have more than enough food. Grateful for so many things that many of us take for granted all year long.
This got me thinking that I should do this again this year but for Thanksgiving too. How many families don’t get a Thanksgiving dinner because they can’t afford it? People need help all year long, not just at Christmas and Thanksgiving is the next best time to share and give. I then thought one step further and decided to start a challenge, of sorts, and call it Operation Thanksgiving Dinner. I challenge each one of you reading this to find a local family to help this Thanksgiving. Get a turkey and ingredients for 2-3 side dishes and donate it all to a family in need. There are 3 ½ weeks left until Thanksgiving to get this done. If buying a whole dinner is too daunting or not financial feasible all at once, do what I’m going to do, space out your shopping each week. This week I’ll buy items for 1 or 2 side dishes. Next week a frozen turkey and the weekend before Thanksgiving I will buy any produce or perishable items. If you honestly can’t afford a whole dinner than really think about a small monetary donation. $5.00 may not seem like much to you or but it means a lot to those that struggle.
Today I stopped by a local organization called Pine River Shares which is a program of La Plata Family Centers Coalition and they help families in need. They focus on Bayfield (where I live), Ignacio and Arboles. Now if you aren’t from around here these towns are extremely small and surprisingly I learned that there are 60 families that get weekly food bags from this group. 60! That is a lot of families for this area. Just think about bigger towns and cities! I was also told that usually they get a donation from some corporate sponsors for 20 turkeys. This year the sponsors are not able to donate so they only have 5 turkeys. I know more than 15 people that can surely donate turkeys or even the money for turkeys. I also learned that they have an anonymous donor that will double what money they receive so your $20.00 would really be $40.00. That can go a long way to some families!
If money is tight here are some suggestions to save some cash so you can help –
1. Skip the morning coffee joint and make it at home.
2. Drink a few less beers on Friday night during happy hour.
3. Make your lunch and bring it to work and don’t eat out so much
4. Paint your own nails at home and skip the mani/pedi just once.
5. Instead of buying your kids 10 presents for Christmas, buy them 1 or 2 less.
6. Go to the library instead of buying that book.
7. Wear something you already have to a holiday party instead of buying something new.