In just a few days we will be joining family and friends to sit around a table and appreciate the many blessings we have. But, what are your REALLY doing to share with others who don’t have as much as you? What legacy are you teaching your children about what Thanksgiving really means? What are you teaching strangers about the gift of giving and random kindness? What are you teaching yourself about not putting yourself first?
Growing up, each and every year we volunteered to put together 200 food baskets for families at Thanksgiving. Each one was done with the understanding that if this wasn’t given, the family may not have a meal – let alone a thanksgiving dinner. We were not a well off family by any stretch of the imagination, but my grandparents always made sure to let me know that there was always someone who needed it (what ever the it was) more than I did and the only way to become a success in life is by giving back. Thanksgiving was never about the “thanks” for our family – it was about the “giving”
I have continued that belief in giving as I have gotten older. I value the gift that my grandparents taught me and have carried on my own tradition of giving with my own children. Each year, there are thousands of families that don’t have a full thanksgiving dinner on the table because they can’t afford it. Many of those are uncomfortable asking for help. I see it each and every year – it is the family on Thanksgiving morning in the store buying turkey from the deli counter or in the packages, people counting their singles to try and afford a can of green beans and a bag of potatoes. It is horrible to see, and for most of us, we don’t even notice as we shop. I have started watching, and giving and teaching my children to see the clues and help out as well (25% of their allowance has to be given away).
On Thursday Morning, hit the grocery store. Buy as many $25+ gift cards as you can afford. Then walk up to people and quietly wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, hand them the gift card in an envelope and walk away. You will know who needs it by watching people. We typically drive into a neighborhood that has been especially hard hit. If you can, do a few other random acts that day – buy someone’s gas, pay for the coffee or food in the drive thru of the people behind you, offer to buy the groceries of the person in front of you in line.
It is simple, easy and makes a difference to someone. I know from experience that someone will likely be you.
(Cross posted from ImSoCorporate.com and the HR Carnival for Charity.)