Not everyone will be celebrating Thanksgiving. There are numerous reasons, from the holiday’s repressive history and religious differences to loneliness. It must be overwhelming to see a giant blowup turkey waving while worrying about how to put food on the table. This holiday may focus on being thankful, but it’s about food. It’s a have or have not holiday.
I can’t imagine not having enough to eat or enough to feed my family. Unfortunately, not every neighbor and school friend will be pushing back from a full table on Thursday. There are plenty of ways to give thanks for what you have while still being able to reach out and help others. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, escaping conversations focused on something other than the feast can be challenging. It’s the who, what, where, and when of turkey preparation and side dishes.
When my children were young, we wanted them to think about how easily food came to them. We would let them pick out one item at the grocery store to donate to the food pantry bin at the front of the shop. We asked them to think about why they chose the item. Initially, my kids chose sweet treats because that was what they wished to have. As they grew older, they picked different items as they learned about balanced meals. The act became second nature. Shopping meant one item was always for someone else. Choosing to give one thing wasn’t overwhelming or going to break our budget. Choosing one thing was manageable.
The wonderful thing about growth and giving thanks is recognizing that each person and family arrange their table differently. Some of us will have leftovers, while others will scrape their plates clean.
As you give thanks, I know you will continue to think about helping surrounding neighbors and friends. Please consider giving to the local food pantries or sharing information about access to free local meals. There are also area Turkey Trots raising funds for food services. I’ll be there walking with my daughter, knowing every little bit we do can help someone else. As I am every year, I am thankful to live in such a generous, thoughtful community. I wish you all a safe holiday.