Amid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping specials on our minds, the Thanksgiving holiday is also a time to stop, pause, and sit down to more-than-we-can-eat with family and friends.
It is a time to reconnect with our loved ones, to recognize all the good in our lives, to cherish memories at hand, and well, to feel gratitude.
More so, we can show our thankfulness through our generosity and giving heart.
Here in America, income and the standard of living for most Americans is relatively high when compared to other industrialized nations.
Hence, we can revel in the commercialization by buying that thousand-dollar TV for only a few hundred dollars when on sale the day after Thanksgiving. Yet, having money to spend freely is a blanketed statement. It overlooks countless people in our American communities.
Many people barely scratch the surface to afford the traditional family gathering with turkey and trimmings. Some don’t even have family.
This stark realization is our call to action to make our community a better place for everyone. While we can’t buy TVs for everyone, we can do what matters most. We can share our giving spirit with others.
In the downtown area of the big city I live close to, we have a hot spot of homeless shelters, transitional housing places, and homeless encampments. Tender Mercies is one such place.
What is Tender Mercies:
Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on West 12th Street (Cincinnati).
Their stated mission is: ”Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.”
This season, on Thanksgiving Day, several friends and I visited Tender Mercies and served a homemade dinner to these folks. Residents of Tender Mercies gave me a heart-felt connection and while they thanked us for their dinner,
- I thank them for inviting us into their home,
- I thank them for letting me meet them and
- to get to know them a little better (some I’ve seen in passing when on my job at the public library),
- I thank them for letting me give back to my community.
Making a Difference in our Communities helps others:
- As you ponder what difference you can make in your community, consider volunteering at a feeding program, soup kitchen, or the like.
- Explore where there is a need in your neighborhood or a city near you.
- Start one with a group of friends or a group or organization that you are a member in.
In a nation as rich and plentiful as ours, no individual or family should go hungry or be malnourished. And no one should go without the human connection of kindheartedness. Feed the hungry and feed your soul.
Making a Difference in our Communities enriches our own lives:
- An act of unconditional love lifts the spirit, giving a boost to overall health and well-being. In turn, happier, healthier people become better members of society creating a win-win for all.
- Volunteer work is a wonderful vehicle by which members of a community can lend a helping hand to individuals in need. It provides vital services that local city and governmental agencies cannot always render to the number of people in need.
- Humanitarian efforts to help others, and increasing our awareness are our calls to action today— and going forward.
”Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie, author.
What are your experiences with being thankful?
Of giving to the community?
Tender Mercies (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Homeless Shelter Directory of Helping the Needy:
If you are in other parts of America and need a resource to point you where help is needed, this website is user friendly. It opens with a map of the United States—click on your state and from there, find out where to go and who to contact.
Blog Post from Thanksgiving 2017: Gratitude
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