Thanks, Giving till it Hurts

For our first ZAS meeting, Steph took the time to teach us Chicken Butchering 101. Afterwards, we worked together on a hobo stew using the chicken and whatever else group members brought. It was fun throwing what we had into the pot. Reminiscent of tales of the first Thanksgiving growing up, you know where the happy pilgrims invited the native Americans (or “Indians” as I was taught to call them) to come and share their bountiful harvest.

There is much controversy around the “First Thanksgiving.” It’s hard to decipher truth through all of the folklore. Whatever your beliefs or opinions on history, our American tradition of Thanksgiving is valuable to who we are. We live in the land of plenty. Times have been hard for most of America, but to the rest of the world we still have it pretty damn good.

Many of us will be gathering around a table with our loved ones preparing to indulge ourselves in quite a feast. I challenge each reader to take the time to give back to your community and help someone who needs it.

Donate your time: Spend time with friends who don’t have family near by. Invite a coworker to your festivities this holiday season. Suicide rates are high this time of year because of loneliness and despair.

Maybe you know a retired veteran who could use a good home cooked meal. If you are cooking dinner for your family, it’s not a big deal to cook extra to share.

Volunteer at nursing homes, soup kitchens, rescue missions, and food drives. Give your time to whoever you can find that needs help. Even if it just comes down to missing the game to help a friend out. There is always work to do somewhere.

Donate Your Resources: Food, clothing, and toy drives abound at this time of year. Take food from your pantry and drop it off. Go through your clothes and give away something that you like, but don’t really need. Go shopping for yourself or with someone you love in mind, but instead drop off your purchases at a rescue mission.

Next time you get in line to buy a super yummy holiday beverage, you could purchase a gift card to give to a stranger who might also enjoy the indulgence.

When you go to pay your electric bill there might be the option of donating to a “share the warmth” fund. Go ahead and drop as much as you can into that fund to help pay someone else’s light bill this season.

If your family normally orders pizza or goes through the drive through once or more a week, you could decide to send someone you know who has been discouraged by continued unemployment out instead. Dine in with your family that night and talk about the importance of giving and selflessness. 

Get your kids involved in the giving. Have them donate, not only toys they no longer play with, but maybe a toy they still appreciate but would like toe let someone else to enjoy. It shouldn’t be forced upon them, but children can often surprise us with their generosity if we encourage it.

It’s easy to give when you don’t have to make a sacrifice to do it. Think about how we could turn our society around by giving up our own comfort to help someone in need, by giving until it hurts.

Maybe you have another idea or an example of someone giving to you when you needed it most. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us.

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