Giving a little Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year in America the holidays are upon us. Halloween is past and the entire season of thanksgiving, peace and good will has begun. It’s also a time of incredible commercialism, but let’s set that aside for a bit and turn our eyes to better things.

Whether your family has the traditional get together with turkey and all the trimmings, or you all plod out to ladle gravy at the local shelter, or you’re desert rats who spend the long weekend on the dunes, or whatever you do, there are ways to reach beyond yourself this year, and maybe, just maybe, doing exactly that is a cure for the cynicism brought on by far too many cutesy holiday displays assaulting our senses at every possible turn.

Check out volunteermatch.org – they have incredible information on things you can do, place to help, etc. Searching within 20 miles of my zip code turned up five matches for opportunities to lend a helping hand this Thanksgiving.

If you live near a military base, check with their Ombudsman, personnel services or the CO of the base to find out if they run a program to hook young men and women up with families willing to open their homes to a stranger come holiday time. Long ago, the Navy had the “Stuff a Sailor” program.

Any major city has homeless shelters, and most will run a “soup kitchen” for Thanksgiving Day. Many churches or other organizations will host a dinner for homeless or low-income families and they need people to help cook or serve.

Look into senior or convalescent homes in your area. Do they need help serving a special dinner? Can you bring in special treats, or can your kids make some decorations to brighten the otherwise austere place?

How about starting a new “tradition” on Thanksgiving, and instead of sitting at home eating far too much, take your family out and do something for those who have less. Sure, you’ll miss out on the heaping helpings of rich food, but think of the riches you’ll be giving to others. And besides, you can always have a family dinner on Friday.